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County Fires Mail Clerk Who Has AIDS

January 11, 1985

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A Broward County mail clerk fired because he has acquired immune deficiency syndrome says he won’t appeal his dismissal, unlike another man fired four months earlier for having the disease.

″The county is perfectly within their rights to do something like this from one point of view,″ said Donald Fanus, 47, who was dismissed Dec. 31. ″Of course it doesn’t seem compassionate.″

County Administrator Floyd Johnson said he had no choice but to dismiss Fanus, who worked in a library.

″I have researched this thing,″ Johnson said. ″I have wrestled with it. I have a responsibility to protect all of Broward County’s workforce, and the general public that is served by the workforce. ″

Todd Shuttleworth, 31, who was fired in September after the county learned he had AIDS, is protesting his dismissal, and has accepted help from the American Civil Liberties Union to fight it.

The ACLU is arguing that AIDS, which destroys the body’s immune defense systems, is spread by intimate contact rather than than the casual association employees have in the workplace.

″There’s good data to show that casual contact does not transmit this disease,″ said Dr. Margaret Fischl, head of a University of Miami AIDS clinic.

Fanus, unlike Shuttleworth, said he already had the disease when he became a county employee in December 1983, and lied on the application form when asked if he had cancer.

Like many AIDS victims, Fanus suffers from Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare type of cancer.

As in Shuttleworth’s case, the county learned about Fanus’ disease from third parties. When asked, both men admitted they had the disease.

Said Noel Pfeffer, the county attorney who drafted the policy not to retain AIDS victims, ″We want to be compassionate; we want to be fair. We searched for compassionate alternatives and couldn’t find any.″

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