EEOC Corrals $25K From Fast Food Franchise That Denied Job to HIV-Positive Applicant

Another employer has gotten in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over allegedly refusing to hire an applicant who was HIV positive. The commission announced yesterday that a Popeye Chicken franchise in Longview, Texas, agreed to pay $25,000 to settle the lawsuit the EEOC filed on behalf of job applicant Noah Crawford.

According to the EEOC, the franchise refused to hire Crawford, even though he had experience in the fast food industry and had been a restaurant manager, when he disclosed that he was HIV-positive. He had put down as his reason for leaving his last job “medical” and was then asked by the restaurant’s general manager what he meant by that.

When he told the general manager he was HIV-positive, his employment application was rejected.

This action wasn’t legal under the ADA, the EEOC insisted, as it violated the prohibition against pre-employment, medically-related job inquiries.

In its announcement of the settlement, the EEOC pointed out that HIV is not listed in the FDA’s food and drug code as a disease that can be transmitted through the food supply.

Just last March, EEOC sued a staffing agency for pulling a job applicant’s application because he was HIV positive.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement of the settlement in the current case.

And if you need a refresher on what questions you can and cannot ask under the ADA, go here and scroll down to Disability & Medical Exams During Employment Application & Interview Stage.

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