OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV/CNN) - A Kansas man is suing the restaurant where he used to work as a server after he says he was fired because he has HIV, which would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Armando Gutierrez was a server at The Big Biscuit restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas, when he learned he was HIV positive in 2018, according to CNN.
Wary of the social stigma associated with HIV, Gutierrez instead told his manager he had cancer. But later, he needed his employer’s signature on a document to get HIV treatment through a state program.
Gutierrez claims the next day he was told he was being moved to a different location with a different schedule. That schedule included Sundays, which he couldn’t work due to family commitments.
He was fired when he told management he couldn’t work Sundays.
Gutierrez and his lawyer, Mark Dugan, claim his schedule was changed and he was subsequently fired due to his HIV status. When Gutierrez accepted the job in 2017, he explained he couldn’t work Sundays, and there were no problems.
"It’s at the minimum disability discrimination and discrimination based on the perception of disability, and I think it’s likely discrimination based on the stigma and negative perception about HIV,” Dugan said.
The lawsuit seeks back pay and damages, CNN reports.
People cannot get HIV by eating food handled by someone with the virus, according to the CDC. In the United States, HIV is most commonly spread through unprotected sex and drug use.