HIV-positive Gauteng academic successfully challenges dismissal

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VUTAfter accidentally being exposed to HIV‚ an academic chose to return to his family home to deal with the trauma. But before he could recover‚ he was dealt another blow – he was dismissed by the Vaal University of Technology. But, reports The Times, Dr Pieter Wynand Conradie‚ a lecturer in the university’s information and communication technology department‚ challenged his dismissal. And last week the Labour Court ruled in his favour.

The report says details of the case were revealed in Judge Anton Steenkamp’s ruling which was handed down last week.

In January 2015 Conradie was exposed to the HIV after an accident. Conradie sought medical treatment in the form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and was placed on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. According to Steenkamp he returned to work in February “but his physical and mental state was deteriorating” and he decided to “recuperate” at his parents’ home in Worcester. Conradie “handed over his supervisory duties to a colleague”‚ Steenkamp noted.

While in Worcester he was informed that by “deserting his workplace without informing the university of his whereabouts‚” he was in breach of his contract. In August 2015 he was faxed a “pension payout form” from the university.

Ironically‚ the report says, the institution argued that they could not get a hold of Conradie. “The difficulty with this submission is that the university must have been aware of his whereabouts: it telephoned him twice in Worcester and sent him the ‘pension payout form’ to the fax number in Worcester that he provided‚” Steenkamp said in his judgment.

“His home address as indicated on the first page of his contract of employment is also the address in Worcester.” Conradie‚ the court found‚ is entitled to a salary for two months and ten days.

The Times report

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