EEOC Announces Suits as Part of National HIV/AIDS Strategy

November 23, 2010 ( – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced settlements of two suits accusing employers of discrimination based on HIV status.

The agency said the suits were part of an effort to implement President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, one goal of which is to better serve people living with HIV—including by preventing barriers to employment of people with HIV or who are perceived to have HIV.  

In one case, Innershore Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Marlow 6 Theater, will pay $20,000 and significant remedial relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC. The agency charged that the Temple Hills, Maryland, theater fired a concession manager when it became aware that she was HIV-positive, according to an EEOC news release.  

In the second case, Callaro’s Prime Steak & Seafood, LLC, a restaurant in Manalapan, Florida, will pay $10,000 and furnish significant injunctive relief to settle a suit in which the EEOC charged Callaro’s violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when it forced an employee to resign because it regarded her as disabled after the company learned she was associated with an HIV-positive family member. According to the complaint, after Callaro’s learned the employee’s family member was HIV-positive, the company insisted she get tested for HIV, and when she refused Callaro’s made adverse changes to her work schedule and working conditions, reducing her scheduled hours so much that she was forced to resign.  

Noting that on July 13, 2010, President Barack Obama charged federal agencies to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said in a news release: “This suit is part of that effort, and highlights the need for companies to take proactive and preventative steps to educate themselves and their employees about the ADA and its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of association with people with disabilities, or on the basis of perceived disabilities.”