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Uganda: Two former employees sue China Communications Construction for HIV/AIDS discrimination

Author: Amy Fallon, Thomas Reuters Foundation, Published on: 27 July 2017

"Ugandans take Chinese firm to court in latest HIV workplace battle"

When Kato was called into his manager's office, the Ugandan driver assumed he would be sent on an errand, not be ordered to take an HIV test and lose his job when it came back positive, leading him to sue his Chinese employer for unfair dismissal. Kato, 45, is one of two HIV-positive workers who went to court in June to demand compensation from their former employer, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), in Uganda's second high-profile AIDS discrimination case in two years."(My manager) said: 'If you don't go for this test, you'll be fired'," said Kato, a father of three who declined to give his full name for fear of stigma. "We had to go along with it because we were afraid of losing our jobs," he said, describing how half a dozen employees were ferried to a clinic in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to have their blood tested.

Uganda's high court will hear the case on Aug. 16, in which the two plaintiffs are asking for 400 million Uganda shillings ($110,000) in compensation, after efforts to reach an out-of-court settlement failed. The day after his results came back in March 2016, Kato said, his manager asked him to sign a resignation letter. CCCC, one of the world's largest businesses with a focus on infrastructure projects, denied the allegations. "No employee has ever been coerced to take a medical check-up," it said in court documents. "Medical check-ups undertaken by the plaintiffs, if at all, were not calculated to determine their employment, but for their own health benefit." A lawyer for CCCC, which has three major road contracts with Uganda's government, and a spokesman for the Uganda National Roads Authority declined to comment as the case is in court.


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Related companies: China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC)