EEOC Said Concession Manager Fired for HIV Condition
BALTIMORE - 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 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the company unlawfully fired a concession manager because of her disability, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
In its suit (Civil Action No. 8:09-cv-02481-DKC) filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, the EEOC charged that the Temple Hills, Md., theater fired Robin C. Adams when the company became aware that she was HIV-positive.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual because of an actual disability or because he or she had a record of disability or was regarded as disabled. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree resolving the case requires that Innershore Enterprises / Marlow 6 Theater provide mandatory training for all employees and managers on the ADA. The company will also post notices at its facilities affirming its commitment to complying with the ADA, be enjoined from discriminating on the basis of disability and be monitored by EEOC for compliance with the ADA for the decree’s five-year duration.
On July 13, 2010, President Barack Obama charged federal agencies to implement the 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.
“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 HIV or perceived disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “It is illegal to treat employees or applicants based upon myths, fears and stereotypes about HIV and AIDS.”
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Maria Salacuse added, “We are pleased that the company agreed to resolve the case by entering into this consent decree and by providing monetary relief to Ms. Adams – and agreeing to other terms that will help protect other employees from disability discrimination. The EEOC is committed to protecting people with HIV who are discriminated against in their places of employment.”
During fiscal year 2009, disability discrimination charges reached a record level of 21,451 -- an increase of 10 percent from the prior fiscal year.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.