U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Store In Afton, Wyoming Fired Employee After Learning of His HIV Status, EEOC Alleges
DENVER – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit yesterday against Maverik, Inc., owners of the Maverik Country Store convenience store chain. which has locations through the mountain West. According to EEOC’s complaint, Maverik intentionally and unlawfully discriminated against Randy Ramos, who is HIV-positive, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to EEOC’s lawsuit, was a good employee who had worked as a bakery clerk in Maverik’s Afton, Wyo., location since 2005. In 2008, Maverik terminated Ramos just 13 days after Ramos’s HIV status was disclosed in a letter from the Wyoming Worker’s Safety and Compensation Division. The EEOC also alleges that Maverik failed to make reasonable accommodations for Ramos.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Maverik, Inc. d/b/a Maverik Country Stores, Case #10CV00212-F) in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting further discrimination by the employer and mandating corrective action.
“HIV is very much a disability under the ADA,” said EEOC Phoenix Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill, whose jurisdiction includes Wyoming. “One would expect that employers in this day and age would be sensitive to that and agree to work with an HIV positive employee, not fire him.”
EEOC Phoenix District Office Acting District Director Rayford Irvin added, “HIV and AIDS may not be the media story du jour anymore, but the EEOC is still committed to protecting persons with HIV who are discriminated against in their place of employment. It is illegal to treat employees or applicants based upon myths, fears and stereotypes about HIV or AIDS.”
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.