Plasma Center Fired Employee Believed To Be HIV-Positive, Federal Agency Charges
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Plasma Biological Services, LLC and Interstate Blood Bank, Inc. d/b/a Plasma Biological Services, which own and operate plasma collection centers throughout the southern United States, violated federal law by discriminating against an employee believed to be HIV-positive, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Plasma Biological Services placed the employee on a deferred donor list after an initial screening for a plasma donation showed a viral marker for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). After the employee's supervisor learned that he had been placed on the deferred donor list, the employee was immediately discharged. Subsequent tests showed the employee was actually negative for HIV.
The EEOC also alleged that Plasma Biological Services maintained a policy of terminating any employee who tested positive for a viral marker. It also failed to maintain employee medical records separate from personnel files.
Firing an employee because of a perceived disability, or for having a record of disability, violates Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Plasma Biological Services, LLC and Interstate Blood Bank, Inc. d/b/a Plasma Biological Services, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-02419) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary prelitigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency's lawsuit seeks monetary relief for the employee in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction against further discrimination on the basis of disability.
"Discharging someone simply because the employer perceives a disability is a violation of the ADA," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "The EEOC remains committed to vigilantly enforcing the ADA."
Plasma Biological Services are Tennessee companies with their principal offices in Memphis, Tennessee. With more than 30 locations across 14 states, the companies are engaged in the business of drawing human source plasma and selling it for profit.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.