Nursing Home Facility Fired Employee Because of HIV, Federal Agency Charged
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc., a Johnson City-based nursing home facility, will pay $90,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Christian Care Center violated federal law by firing an employee because the individual suffers from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The EEOC's suit contended that the employee worked for Christian Care Center as a licensed practical nurse for more than a month. When the nursing home learned that the employee was HIV positive, the employee was immediately discharged.
Disability discrimination, including firing an employee because of HIV, violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action 2:12-cv-00207) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northeastern Division after first attempting to settle the matter out of court through its conciliation process.
In addition to $90,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit prohibits Christian Care Center from discriminating against employees on the basis of a disability in the future. The decree requires the center to provide training on employee rights under the ADA, maintain records of discrimination complaints and provide a report to the EEOC. The decree also requires Christian Care Center to post an ADA notice to all employees that provides the EEOC's contact information.
Faye A. Williams, regional attorney for the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi, pointed out that in July 2010, President Obama issued a National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
"As part of that strategy, the president envisioned that the United States 'will become a place where people with HIV infections will be free from stigma and discrimination,'" Williams said. "We hope that this resolution will help that vision become a reality."
According to company information, Christian Care Center of Johnson City, Inc. is a Tennessee corporation that 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. The facility maintains approximately 105 employees.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.