What if Charlie Sheen Were Your Employee?

by Evil HR Lady on November 25, 2015

Charlie Sheen just announced he’s HIV positive. While Sheen is rich and famous and has all sorts of legal things set up to protect him and his interests, most people with HIV lead much more normal lives. In fact, you may have some people with HIV sitting in the next cubicle and you’d never know it. If you do know it, however, there are laws you must follow. Here’s what you need to know about HIV in the workplace.

Yes, you can (and should have) fired Mr. Sheen.

By all reports, Charlie Sheen was difficult to work with. He used drugs and drank and was not responsible and, well, pick up an issue of a gossip magazine if you want the details. The reality is when he lost his job on Two and a Half Men it wasn’t because of his HIV status, but because of his behavior.

Having HIV, or another disease or disability, doesn’t mean you can be a full-fledged jerk. It doesn’t mean you can be a low performer. It does mean that you can’t be fired because of your illness (see below), but you can be fired for unrelated reasons.

To keep reading, click here: What if Charlie Sheen Were Your Employee?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

charles November 25, 2015 at 5:54 pm

If I were a manager with hire/fire authority; Charlie Sheen would have been fired loooong before his HIV status.

Unfortunately, they considered him to be the star of the show and believed that the show wouldn’t survive without him. Jon Cryer and Ryan Stiles, for whatever my 2 cents is worth, are fantastic actors. And Conchata Ferrell just makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt. Those three are, in my opinion, very under-rated actors. So, the show can be great without that obnoxious “star.”

This also happens in the real work world where some managers think they cannot do without some superstar – and the rest of us have to put up with the “star’s” obnoxious behavior.

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Elizabeth West November 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Sad but true!

And I think Conchata Ferrell is one of the coolest actors on the planet. 🙂

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Zencat December 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm

This relates to an issue we had come up at work recently. There is an employee here put in to multiple positions and demoted, moved around due to either bans from speaking to vendors, retreat meetings, and some customer service areas due to severe attitude problems. No disclosure, request, or obvious disability in the many years of employment. Work is average though sometimes things will go incomplete or to the back burner based on whims.

This is all documented in some form or another, particularly conplaints and demotions. The reason no one will fire her is because of her age and that has been said multiple times (whether appropriate or not). They are concerned about a lawsuit. I work in an industry that has an older workforce in general because of the levels of experience required.

I’ve been at companies before who have not terminated or even laid off employees specifically because of a prior work comp issue, FMLA use, disability, etc out of fear. This company had a ton of documentation that was routine and enforced. They didn’t even lower pay (at both companies I’ve worked for) for demotions – not due to an accommodation but due to lack of ability (or in the case of the person I described… A lack of interpersonal skill). There were multiple people making several 1000 more dollars a year for lower level jobs they also didn’t achieve well.

This IS NOT true of all or the majority of employees whatsoever. The vast majority can have a disability or some other issue and work just like normal. It’s the ones who don’t work well that would normally be terminated sticking around. It’s also not their fault, it is the company and the management.

I’d wonder if Charlie would be afforded the behavior due to the company’s fear of perceived discrimination. He would at my workplace. The person I detailed above actually told someone via email that they wanted to physically harm them! Any thoughts on how this can be addressed?

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