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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Did McDonalds Fire an Employee for Having HIV?

By Dan Atkerson on November 23, 2016

Disabled office worker with colleagueA court has ordered a McDonald’s franchise owner to pay $103,000 in damages for discrimination against an employee with HIV. The lawsuit came from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which says that the business illegally fired an employee after learning he was HIV positive. Additionally, the agency said that the business had an illegal policy of requiring employees to provide a list of all the medications they were taking.

Discrimination Against an Employee with HIV is Illegal

Firing an employee for having HIV is considered a form of disability discrimination, and it is against the law. An employer cannot fire, refuse promotion or create a negative work environment on the basis of an employee’s disability. This could include employees who are suffering from both mental and physical difficulties.

An ongoing medical condition can also be considered a disability under law. This includes illnesses such as cancer, HIV and Crohn’s disease. Employees suffering from these conditions have the right to a fair workplace. Employers are required to provide disabled workers basic accommodations so that they can perform their job responsibilities. If a business fires a worker because they do not want to bear the burden of providing these accommodations, this is considered wrongful termination.

How Could a Lawsuit Improve Things?

In addition to having to pay the employee for the improper treatment, McDonald’s must take other steps as well. They will have to get rid of their illegal policy of requiring employees to share what prescription medications they are taking. The company will also create a training program for managers that requires them to learn about how to properly accommodate employees with disabilities.

As of now, we do not know how the lawsuit will affect the long-term behavior of the world’s most popular fast food chain. The hope is that this case will remind franchise owners throughout the country that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment lawyer who fights passionately on behalf of victims of disability discrimination, racial discrimination and other forms of workplace injustice.

 

 

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