Elementary School Teacher Fired for HIV Condition, EEOC Charged
BALTIMORE – Chesapeake Academy, a private elementary school in Arnold, Md., will pay $75,750 to settle an HIV-related disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. WDQ-08-cv-2342), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, Chesapeake Academy violated federal law when it discriminated against Chauncey Stevenson by firing him when because of his disability, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Stevenson had been successfully employed as a second-grade teacher and after-school music teacher since 2003 and received good evaluations from his supervisors, parents and students during his tenure. When the school learned of his disability, the EEOC said, the headmaster informed him that such news would not be well received by the school community, and then the school failed to renew his 2006-2007 academic teaching contract.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual because of a disability. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. Chesapeake Academy did not admit liability in the consent decree, which was approved by the court on September 23, 2009.
In addition to the monetary relief to Stevenson, Chesapeake Academy will be enjoined from engaging in employment practices that discriminate against qualified people with HIV/AIDS, post a notice stating its commitment to maintaining an environment free of disability discrimination and provide mandatory training to all current and newly hired management and supervisory personnel on its obligations under the ADA, including the requirement that disabled people be accommodated.
“As long as employers continue to make employment decisions based on uninformed prejudices and irrational fears, we will continue to bring lawsuits like this,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The underlying purpose of the ADA is to eliminate employment discrimination against people who are qualified to do a job and who happen to have a disability.”
According to its web site, (www.chesapeakeacademy.com) Chesapeake Academy’s core mission is to be a “community that promotes a culture of inclusion in which all students, families and faculty feel valued, respected and supported to perform to their full potential.”
In FY 2008, the EEOC announced that workplace discrimination charge filings increased 15 percent to an unprecedented level of 95,402. The EEOC received 19,453 charges of disability discrimination in fiscal year 2008.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site at (www.eeoc.gov).
This page was last modified on September 24, 2009.
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