Federal Agency Charges That Nursing Home Fired Employee Because of HIV-Positive Status
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – A Johnson City-based company that provides nursing home facilities and services violated federal law by discriminating against an employee because of the employee’s HIV-positive status, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-00207, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northeastern Division), Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc. and Care Centers Management Consulting, Inc. (operating as an integrated enterprise) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing an employee because the individual suffers from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The EEOC contends that the employee worked as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) for more than a month. When the nursing home learned that the employee was HIV positive, it immediately discharged the person.
Firing an employee because of a disability violates Title I of the ADA. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s lawsuit seeks, among other things, monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction against further discrimination on the basis of disability.
“Discharging someone simply because of a disability is illegal,” 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 is committed to responsibly enforcing the ADA.”
Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc., a Tennessee corporation, operates a skilled long-term care nursing facility. The facility provides on-call physician services, a licensed nursing staff and physical, speech and occupational therapy. Care Centers Management Consulting, Inc. is a Tennessee corporation that manages and operates nursing home facilities throughout Tennessee, including Johnson City.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.