U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Bentonville Restaurant Management Companies Fired Employee Because of His HIV Status, Agency Charges
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A McDonald's restaurant owned and operated by Mathews Management Company and Peach Orchard, Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., violated federal law when it fired an employee because of his HIV-positive status, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
EEOC's suit alleges the companies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they terminated the employee within days of learning of his HIV status. The suit also alleges the companies maintain a policy of requiring all employees to report the use of prescription medication, also in violation of the ADA.
Disability discrimination violates the ADA. EEOC filed suit in Civil Action No. 5:16-cv-05166 -PKH, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, removal of the prescription medication policy, and an injunction against future discrimination.
"The ADA mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve success in the workplace," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. "People with HIV face enough obstacles in their lives. The ability to work in an environment free of discrimination should not be one of them."
Mathews Management Company owns and operates 34 McDonald's restaurants, including all of the restaurants in Northwest Arkansas and adjacent areas in Missouri and Oklahoma.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.