OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (CNN NEWSOURCE) — Mark Dugan represents a man who used to work as a server at a Big Biscuit restaurant in Overland Park.
“It’s at the minimum disability discrimination, and discrimination based on the perception of disability,” Dugan said. “And I think it’s likely discrimination based on the stigma and negative perception about HIV.”
When his client accepted the job in 2017, he explained that he couldn’t work Sundays because of family commitments. For the next year, there were no problems with that.
A year later, he learned he was HIV positive, but was wary of the social stigma associated with that and, instead, told his manager he had cancer. But he later needed his employer’s signature on a document to get HIV treatment through a state program.
The very next day, he was told he was being moved to a different location and with a different schedule that included Sundays. He was fired when he told management he still couldn’t work on Sundays.
Thrive health connection is a non-profit that supports people living with HIV and AIDS.
“I’m not entirely surprised,” Rebecca Stern of Thrive said. “People really lack a lot of information about how HIV and STIs are transmitted, and I think that results in a lot of stigma.”
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