Lawsuit Claims McDonald’s Employee Was Fired For Being HIV-Positive

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — A lawsuit has been filed against a McDonald’s store in Bentonville after an employee claimed the reason for he was fired was because he was HIV-positive.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former McDonald’s employee Friday (July 1). The lawsuit wants the defendant, Matthews Management and Peach Orchard, Inc., which own McDonald’s Store #32295, to pay all punitive damages for malicious and/or reckless conduct and all wages and benefits lost resulting from the termination.

The lawsuit claims in February 2015, the store’s general manager had called the former employee into his office and asked if he was in a relationship with one of his coworkers.

The former employee stated that he had an interest in a coworker and that he was HIV-positive, the lawsuit stated. The general manager then told the former employee that he had to be let go.

The lawsuit also states that one week prior to the meeting, a shift manager, after questioning the former employee about his HIV-positive status, told him that he might be terminated by store employers “due to his disability because [store] employers had previously terminated a female employee who was HIV-positive.”

The former employee was terminated on or about February 13, 2015, for alleged violations of the store’s attendance policies, according to the lawsuit.

It also claims other employees had violated more attendance policies than the former employee, but were not terminated.

The lawsuit states the McDonald’s store practice/policy, located near Peach Orchard Road in Bentonville, violated the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.

Bill and Walter Matthews issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

“It is our policy to provide equal employment opportunities to all persons of physical or mental disability, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We deny that Plaintiff’s separation was based on his medical status. These allegations are without merit and we will vigorously defend this baseless claim.”

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