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HIV-positive
employee wins discrimination case

HIV-positive
employee wins discrimination case

A former Subway employee who says he was fired because he has HIV has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against a Subway restaurant owner in Nevada.

Lambda Legal staff attorney Jen Sinton said in a press release Wednesday that the law clearly states that employers cannot fire someone because he or she is HIV-positive. "Sound science shows if someone with HIV is able to work, there is no reason why they can't work in the food service industry," Sinton said. "Improving science literacy around HIV transmission is crucial to the struggle to end AIDS."

As part of the settlement with former employee Robert Hickman, Donna Curry Investments, which owns the franchises where he worked, will adopt written policies banning discrimination against qualified individuals with HIV. The company will also provide training for employees about HIV transmission.

Lambda Legal represented Hickman, who was hired to work at Subway in November 2004. The following February, when he became eligible for health insurance after three months of employment, he saw that the insurance application asked about his HIV status. He told his employer he was HIV-positive and was worried about being denied coverage because of that; the franchise holder then fired him, claiming he posed a danger to customers. He subsequently filed suit in U.S. district court in Las Vegas.

"I'm gratified that my former employer has taken to heart that discrimination against people with HIV is wrong and has agreed to have new policies and training," Hickman said in the press release. "Employers must learn what the CDC already knows: 25 years of scientific study confirm there is no known risk of HIV transmission to customers or anyone else through the normal course of business at a restaurant." (The Advocate)

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