Mrs Z.M. v. Mrs D.T.

The applicant alleged that her employer terminated her employment solely on the basis of her HIV status.

Decision | 27 November 2001
Ouagadougou Labour Court, Case No 165


The applicant was employed as a cleaning lady and baby sitter in September 2000. After three weeks, her employer requested that she undergo an HIV test if she wanted to continue to work in the employer’s home as a baby sitter. Two days after she was tested for HIV, Doctor Y.A. informed her that she was HIV positive. The applicant decided to undergo another HIV test in another clinic and at her own expense. The results of this second test indicated that she was HIV negative. Upon learning of the second diagnosis, her employer requested that the applicant go back to the first clinic to be tested once again. Two days later, the employer herself informed the applicant that she had tested positive for HIV and refused her access to her house. The applicant was therefore ordered to only work outside the house. A few days later, the applicant was verbally dismissed on the ground that she was HIV positive.

Decision and Reasoning

The Court found that verbally dismissing an employee on illegal grounds was unfair. The Court added that an HIV test could not be a condition to obtain employment. In this case, the Court also emitted some doubts as to the veracity of the first HIV results as the results of this first test were never disclosed to anyone and some personal ties were discovered between Doctor Y.A. and the employer. The Court consequently awarded five million francs to the applicant in compensation for inhumane behaviour and unfair dismissal.