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In: Film and Music

Submitted By notsalg
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Facts of film (What is the film about): Philadelphia is a film about a lawyer who was fired due to his sexual preference and being infected with AIDS. He had kept this information from his employers due to the circumstances in which he most likely contracted the deadly virus- engaging in homosexual activities. He didn’t feel comfortable informing his employer about his sexual preference due to a session in which much fun was made about homosexuals. During trial, his employers try to demonstrate that they were unaware of his condition or sexual preferences as he did not inform them. However, one of his partners had worked with a woman who had contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion and was familiar with the lesions.

Rules of Law raised in film (if none, state none):
Issues at hand are discrimination and wrongful firing due to a disability. Andrew, being a homosexual with aids, was discriminated upon. He was wrongfully let go and informed that it was due to his inability to perform at the level he was expected and had performed in the past. The Americans with Disabilities Act clearly prohibits discrimination based on a disability. Any impairment, physical or mental, that significantly limits major life activity is considered to be a disability. Andrew was able to perform his job without too much difficulty, so the fact that they were trying to fire on the grounds that he was sloppy with his work and the quality diminished was just a pretext for getting rid of him.
It builds on the Civil Rights Act, which also relates to the film because of Andrew being a homosexual. This outlaws discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities. The implementation of the subsequent laws, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, prohibits discrimination when hiring and firing employees.

What other themes or issues does the film raise about the law: i.e. legal education, lawyers, clients, witnesses, judges, juries, punishment, tort law, criminal law, family law, constitutional law, business law, or international law?
At the time the film was released, the general public was unaware of the methods in which AIDS was spread. It was known as the “gay cancer” and homosexuals were discriminated against. The lack of information of how AIDS was spread caused fear in people and led to the poor decisions of many.
What position does the film take on these rules, issues, or themes?
The film sides with Andrew and Joe Miller in attempting to pursue justice. Andrew had a tort committed against him by his employer and in order to correct this, he took them to trial and sought punitive damages. This would punish his firm for violating his civil rights, along with discouraging such behavior from other employers.

What reasons does the film provide for this position?
The film teaches the viewer that it is illegal to fire an employee on a disability and that AIDS is considered a disability. Reasoning behind the case is that if an employee can still perform his/her job, there is no reason to fire them if they incur a disability.
Critically evaluate the film’s success in advocating its position.
The methods used are citing the law, using sympathy for Andrew, and having the military juror apply sense to the facts in order to rule correctly- in the favor of the plaintiff.
What impact did this film have on these rules of law or the public perception of legal education, lawyers, clients, witnesses, judges, juries, punishment, tort law, criminal law, family law, constitutional law, business law, or international law? I think that this helped educate the viewers about discrimination and the legal consequences one can be subjected to. Perhaps this has also helped inform of options available if one feels they have been discriminated against.…...

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