HIV positive jobseeker 'humiliated' by Kent job centre staff

Jayce Carberry Jayce Carberry said he was told he had to see a disability adviser

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An HIV positive jobseeker has said he was left humiliated by staff at a Kent job centre.

Jayce Carberry said staff in Maidstone made him declare his condition within earshot of others, and told him he had to see a disability adviser.

He said an adviser also said he would seek legal advice about what contact Mr Carberry could have with other staff.

The government said jobseekers were asked if they had a condition which could affect certain jobs.

Former hairdresser Mr Carberry said he went to the job centre a few weeks ago to discuss his options.

'That stigma'

He said he was not disabled, and the advisor asked if he could write his HIV status in his notes, he said. Mr Carberry said he did not want it mentioned.

"His [the adviser's] reply was I'll have to speak to my legal team to see if we have to disclose your HIV status to any members of the staff you come into contact with in this building," Mr Carberry said.

"Obviously I was a bit speechless.

"For somebody to make a comment like that, it just takes you all the way back to the beginning and your self-esteem is shattered, you go back to feeling ashamed.

"You're subjected to that stigma and it's really upsetting."

Helen Grant MP Equalities Minister Helen Grant has written to the job centre

Equalities Minister Helen Grant, Mr Carberry's MP, said she had written to the job centre and to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to raise her concerns.

Ms Grant, Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weal, said: "It's absolutely right that if people like Jayce do what they've done - go out, try to get work - that they should be given all the help and support that they need and deserve and at the same time, they must be treated with absolute dignity and respect."

The Department for Work and Pensions, which speaks for job centres, said people did not officially have to declare medical conditions when applying for Jobseeker's Allowance.

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