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Satyam Stops Conducting HIV Tests On Employees To Prevent Discrimination

In order to prevent discrimination against the people suffering from AIDS, Satyam Computer Services has stopped conducting HIV tests on potential employees. //

Satyam is the first Indian IT company to do away with the test on candidates selected for jobs in its various software development centres and BPO units.

From March we have stopped conducting the HIV/AIDS test to protect employees from discrimination at workplace, A.S. Murthy, Satyam's director and senior vice-president (human resources), told IANS.

While some foreign companies here don't conduct an HIV test in line with the policies of their countries, many multinationals and major Indian IT and BPO firms make the prospective employees go through the process. Those who test positive are not considered fit for certain jobs.

If a person is found positive during the test, this could be known to everyone working with him and may result in further isolation (of him), he said.

Satyam has more than 28,000 employees at its development centres in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Bhubaneswar.

If a person knows that he is suffering from HIV and if he is made to undergo the test and its result becomes public, it will shatter his life, said Balaji Utla, director of Satyam Foundation.

He feels that other companies should also take positive policies towards the problem as the HIV test only encourages further stigmatisation of people already suffering from the disease.

We have decided not to conduct tests unless where the law demands. But if we are recruiting somebody for our development centre abroad and the law of that country demands that he should undergo HIV tests, then we have to abide by it.

India, especially states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, is facing a serious situation and we need to do a lot to prevent a catastrophe like the one in Africa, warned Balaji.

Set up four years ago as part o f company's corporate social responsibility, Satyam Foundation is working in areas like education, healthcare, HIV, environment and livelihood.

The foundation, which recently won a corporate social responsibility award from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has already taken up initiatives aimed at creating public awareness, especially among the youth.

The foundation under its HIV awareness campaign plans to cover 200,000 professionals in the next year and a half. It has 4,000 volunteers from among Satyam employees and their family members.

Each of them spends some time during the weekend to work with the foundation in various areas. It may be visiting healthcare centres run by the foundation or schools adopted by it, said Murthy.

Every month each Satyam associate donates Rs.20 for the foundation, which gets a matching contribution from the management. On an average, the foundation gets Rs.400,000 a month from employees alone and an equal amount from the management.

The foundation, which is mainly active in cities where it has operations, has adopted 150 schools. It also runs three healthcare centres in poor localities.

--Edited IANS

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