In March 2014 the EEOC sued Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. for discriminating against an HIV-positive individual in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The company refused to hire the candidate because of his HIV-positive status. Maxim is a provider of medical staffing, home health, and wellness services and has more than 360 offices nationwide.
According to the lawsuit, the candidate had applied for a position that involved sitting with patients at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility. The candidate had already received an offer of the position from Maxim that was contingent on later completion of a health status certification. After receiving the candidate’s medical information, which reflected his HIV-positive status but stated he was cleared to work, Maxim informed the candidate that he could not be hired because he was HIV-positive. Refusing to hire someone because of his HIV status violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Once again, an employer involved in the health care field has impermissibly allowed fear and bias to enter into the hiring process,” said Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “The ADA clearly prohibits covered employers, including those staffing health care positions, from refusing to hire someone based on disability.”
Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. added, “HIV status does not categorically preclude individuals from working in the health care field. Refusing to hire someone because he is living with HIV is not only shameful, it is a blatant violation of federal law.”
On December 1, 2014, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania entered judgment against Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.. The court ordered Maxim to pay the victim of discrimination $75,000 in monetary relief and prohibited the company from engaging in disability discrimination or retaliation. The court also ordered Maxim to create and implement policies that explain, define and prohibit discrimination in the terms and conditions for employment. Further, the court ordered the defendant to implement mechanisms for the enforcement of such policies, including appropriate complaint and investigation procedures, as well as training and educating its employees on the subject of disability discrimination to prevent future violations.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in your work or in applying for a job based on your disability, please contact The Harman Firm, LLP.