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Lambda Legal says
Subway worker was fired due to HIV

Lambda Legal says
Subway worker was fired due to HIV

Lawsuit says man was wrongly fired one day after employer learned he is HIV-positive.

A lawsuit filed Thursday by Lambda Legal claims a Las Vegas manager of a Subway restaurant was wrongly fired from his job because he is HIV-positive. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court, claims that although manager Bob Hickman had received praise and pay increases for his performance by the owner of the Subway franchise, he was fired the day after he revealed his HIV infection to the company.

"Not only is it not good business to fire an employee who was rewarded for high achievement just because that employee has HIV, it is also against the law," said Jen Sinton, staff attorney at Lambda Legal and lead attorney on the case, in a press statement. "Terminating Bob Hickman because he has HIV flies in the face of established law and basic science that shows that HIV did not affect our client's ability to do his job."

Hickman was hired by Donna Curry Investments as a store manager in November 2004, earned a merit salary raise shortly after being hired, and was reassigned to manage a busy Las Vegas store in December 2004, according to the lawsuit. Hickman also was praised by franchise owner Donna Curry, who also serves as franchise developer for the entire Subway restaurant chain, for his work at the store, which posted record sales under his leadership. However, Curry was fired on February 4, 2005, one day after Curry learned he is HIV-positive.

"My HIV status in no way interfered with my ability to perform my job," Hickman says in a press release. "The one thing that should have mattered at all to my employer--my job performance--didn't even seem to enter into their minds when they fired me because all they cared about was that I have HIV."

Sinton, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal's HIV Project, is lead attorney on the case. She is joined on the case by Jon Givner, Lambda Legal's HIV Project director, and Caren Jenkins of Jenkins Law Office in Reno, Nev. The lawsuit seeks unspecified real and punitive damages.

The lawsuit was filed through Lambda's "Blow the Whistle" campaign to end workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians and HIV-positive people. The organization maintains a Web site, at, where people who have witnessed workplace discrimination or feel they've been the victim of discrimination can report their employers to the civil rights agency. (

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