A former bakery store clerk will be paid $115,000 from the company that allegedly fired him because he was HIV-positive.
Maverik, Inc. -- which operates about 200 gas stations in the western states, including in Colorado -- settled a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit last week. The suit argued the company had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when they fired a clerk.
According to the Associated Press, the complaint alleged that Maverik fired the clerk in 2008, two weeks after learning he was HIV-positive. The clerk had been with the company for three years, and the EEOC argued that the company worried he should not work with food.
The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of disability. A spokesperson for the EEOC in Denver explained to the news service that the ADA also stops employers from discriminating against people based on stereotypes about disabilities.
This spokesperson further clarified that a person who is HIV-positive should not be prohibited from working with food. He also said that employers only need to make accommodations for an employee's impairments, but they do not need to know personal information about the employee's condition.
The suit stated that Maverik did not make accommodations for the clerk, according to the news report.
The clerk, who had his own lawyer, will reportedly receive the payment. The clerk's lawyer said that equally as important as the monetary payment, is that the settlement mandates the company will not discriminate against any other employees for disability. Maverik will also have to offer training on ADA to all of its supervisors, and in Wyoming to all of its employees.
According to the news report, a representative for Maverik said that the company has not admitted they broke the law, and they are settling to avoid more expenses. The company did give another explanation about why the clerk was fired.
Source: Associated Press, "Maverik store chain pays to settle HIV case," Ben Neary, Nov. 8. 2011