When a California employee experiences a wrongful termination, the employee’s world can be turned upside down. Under California employment law, it is unlawful to fire an employee for a discriminatory reason. This unlawful discrimination includes age, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability status. One disability in particular that employers cannot discriminate against is HIV status.
One Los Angeles busboy recently filed suit against his former employer, the popular restaurant The Ivy. In this lawsuit, the man claims he was wrongfully terminated under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. The man alleges the violation occurred when he was fired because of his HIV-positive status.
According the man, he had been working for The Ivy for a few months when he found out he was HIV-positive. The man was put on a regimen of medication that affected his ability to work late hours and made him feel very sick. The man’s doctor wrote a note to The Ivy notifying them that the man was sick from the medication and that he could no longer work certain hours. The man was fired from The Ivy later that month. He is now homeless.
The Ivy, on the other hand, claims it was unaware of the man’s HIV status when he was terminated. They argue that the man was fired because he was not doing a good job. The Ivy claims the man’s coworkers complained that he was not properly performing his duties. Furthermore, The Ivy claims he was given time and proper training to do his job but just never improved.
The Ivy may have a hard time claiming it didn’t know about the man’s HIV status, especially since they received a doctor’s note. Under the law, reasonable accommodations, such as schedule changes, must be made for employees with disabilities.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Reymundo Martinez, Busboy, Sues The Ivy Alleging HIV Discrimination,” Kathleen Miles, Mar. 30, 2012