A former Subway worker claims he was fired after telling his boss that he is HIV-positive.
Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit on the employee’s behalf that accuses the Subway franchisee of violating the American with Disabilities Act.
According to the lawsuit, the unnamed employee told his supervisor, Maria Manawat, about his HIV roughly two weeks after he was hired at an Indiana Subway restaurant in January of this year, WTHR reports.
Manawat allegedly responded by asking questions like: “What if you cut yourself?” and “What about if our customers find out?”
Manawat then said she would need to discuss the matter with Subway’s district manager, according to the lawsuit.
Several weeks later, Manawat called the employee – who is not named in the lawsuit – and fired him, saying the district manager believed he was a liability, the lawsuit claims.
The employee is asking for an undetermined amount of back wages and damages.
When reached for comment, a Subway spokesman said: “The company does not condone discrimination of any kind. The franchisee is disputing the allegations regarding the termination of his former team member, but since this is now pending litigation, we cannot comment further.”
HIV cannot be transmitted through food, according to the CDC.
“Except for rare cases in which children consumed food that was pre-chewed by an HIV-infected caregiver, HIV has not been spread through food,” according to the CDC’s website. “The virus does not live long outside the body. You cannot get it from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person; even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.”