The owners of a McDonald’s franchise in Arkansas doled out over $100,000 to a former employee who they fired for being HIV-positive.
The settlement came after a legal complaint was lodged against Mathews Management Co. and Peace Orchard Inc. by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who found the companies in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, a worker at a Bentonville, Arkansas chain of the popular fast food eatery was dismissed in February 2015 after admitting that he was HIV-positive to a co-worker he was interested in dating. The co-worker then told the general manager who informed the employee that they would have to let him go because of his status.
The EEOC filed the suit to recoup the defendant’s back pay, recover punitive damages and challenge the stigma surrounding HIV status.
“People with HIV face enough obstacles in their lives,” said EEOC district director Katharine Kores in a statement. “The ability to work in an environment free of discrimination should not be one of them.”
In addition to paying $103,000 to settle the lawsuit, Mathews Management will now be required to instate disability training at its 34 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the region.