EEOC sues nursing facility for allegedly firing HIV-positive employee

A Texas nursing home has been hit with a lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after it allegedly fired an employee over his HIV-positive status.

According to the lawsuit, Granite Mesa Health Center in Marble Falls, TX, required a certified nursing assistant to provide results of his medical examination after he disclosed that he tested as HIV-positive. The CNA was then discharged when he requested a copy of the policies that required him to submit his test results, according to the EEOC.

"Federal law prohibits requiring an employee to submit his HIV test results as a condition of his continued employment where the employee's job duties do not pose a risk of transmission," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Patrick Connor. “The limited avenues for transmission of HIV/AIDS have long been understood by the medical and health care community. The employer here nonetheless made decisions based on unfounded fears and misperceptions rather than on correct, current medical knowledge about HIV infection."

A request for comment from Granite Mesa was not returned by press time Tuesday.

Granite Mesa has been sold twice in the time since the CNA was fired, so the lawsuit includes the facility's successive owners and employers, the agency said. The suit seeks back pay, as well as compensatory and punitive damages, for the employee.