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    Hep C and working with food?
    cjh22 posted:
    I was recently diagnosed with Hep C, and I am currently working as a prep cook in a restaurant. When I informed my boss, he like lost his mind, sent me home, and now Im wondering if I still have a job. My question, is can an employer fire me for having Hep C? I know enough, unlike my ignorant boss, to know that Hep C is not contracted through food, so I am wondering if I have any legal recourse if they do try to fire me? Also, does anyone know of a site that may contain state laws on such matters? I live in PA, and have been trying to find a site that says that I can legally continue to work in the food service industry, something I could maybe print up and give to my boss along with a big middle finger and a groin punch. Any help would be greatly appreciated, ive been looking everywhere to no avail. Thank you in advance
    peanutHCV responded:
    I've worked in the food industry all my life and I've had HCV for over 25yrs (I've know about it only the past 9yrs). I have never informed any employer of my HCV. Most pp are ignorant about Hepatitis. They hear the word and they panic. I try to only tell those pp I feel need to know, like my doctor's and my dentist. I've heard of some pp having a hard time finding a dentist that will work on them. All pp in the medical industry that use tools that could possibly transmit disease should ALWAYS take the proper precautions on EVERY patient.

    Perhaps the doctor that diagnosed you would write a letter to your boss... Have you been referred to a specialist? That doctor would be better versed in HCV. They may even have a standard letter drawn up already...

    Good luck,

    cjh22 responded:
    Yeah Im not sure what idiocy inside my head led me to tell my employer, and as soon as it left my mouth I regretted it. I have been referred to a specialist, although I have not had an appointment with him yet, Im not scheduled with him for 6 weeks. I cant go that long without working, I will lose my house, Im kinda at a loss of what to do until then. I cant even begin to describe how disgusted I am with peoples ignorance, I have only known fo a short while and I already feel stigmatized. I would think that someone who runs a restaurant would know the difference between a food borne illness and a blood borne pathogen, but apparently I was the only one who paid attention in health class growing up. This is such a frustrating situation. I told my best friend, and even he acts weird towards me now. I told my brother and he acted like he didnt even hear me. My girlfriend of 3 years is afraid to have sex with me. I cant box or play hockey anymore because I dont want to have to warn everyone I fight or train with that my blood could kill them. I dont know what to do, what do you do? Any advice? Im not about to spend the rest of my life in my house away from everybody, although its starting to seem like soon there wont be anyone left who would want to be around me.
    peanutHCV responded:
    I'm very careful about who I tell. In fact I haven't told anyone new in a long time...Unfortunately some pp aren't able to keep info to themselves so you really need to know the person you're telling and feel confident that they won't tell anyone else... Once it's out, it's out. The question I ask myself is does this person NEED to know I have Hep C? My ex husband after about a 20 year relationship would not even touch me. Funny thing is that he didn't contract it from me all those years and we didn't use protection... Even though contracting HCV through sex is very rare, I feel it is a situation where the person NEEDS to know. It's the unknown that is so scary. Do your research and share it with your girlfriend. Hopefully she'll come around... It may take some time, try to be patient. See if she'll come to your appointment with you. Hearing it from a doctor may help ease her mind. Even though your appointment with your new doc won't be for a few weeks, someone at the office may have a letter they can send to your employer (if he gives you a hard time). Ease up on yourself. There is a good chance you will live a long, active, healthy life. Do not let others ignorance make you feel alienated. Keep your chin up young man.
    NorMinda14 replied to peanutHCV's response:
    @CJH and Peanut: Your Q and A here has been helpful for me. My wife was diagnosed with HCV just yesterday, and my first concern was "how will this affect her job", as she is in food service as well. That first gut instinct of mine was so very wrong for so many reasons. I didn't care for her job, I was so much more worried about her health, and only her health, but paying the bills is always on my mind. I didn't blurt it out, nor did I tell her, but I felt so ashamed that that thought even came across my mind. Now, we are waiting my test results. But here is the thing: After reading your back-and-forth, it sounds like the views of other people: Ignorance piled on top of lack of knowledge equals pick and choose wisely who you tell! We have told her Dad, and my Mom, as we knew, without question, that there would be unwavering support from those 2. But, most of all, my wife needs MY support, and she will get it...I can't believe that people would cut and run (but somewhere in my mind I do believe it...pathetic). As strong-willed as I am, I will be there for her, and I will direct her to this site. I understand that just talking to me only is not always going to help...a different voice is needed at times. But, now that I have set my priorities have been reset to where they belong (she comes first; always has, and she always will) it IS good to know that she doesn't have to leave a job, or industry, that she enjoys, and is DAMN good at it. We have been referred to a GI specialist, and will know more in the near future. I/we will keep y'all posted, and I want to say thank you....your posts here have helped my perspective, and I'm sure it will help yours. There is really know better medicine than the words of those that have been there. Talk yo y'all soon!
    oldtiff47 replied to NorMinda14's response:


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