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HIV Positive Employee Sues Hollywood Restaurant The Ivy for Discrimination, Wrongful Termination

March 30, 2012

According to a Los Angeles, California employment lawsuit development that our Temecula labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard has been watching, the Ivy, the well-known Los Angeles eatery and popular celebrity hangout, was sued this week by a former employee--who alleged that the restaurant engaged in disability discrimination and wrongful termination.

The lawsuit was filed in the California Superior Court by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, (MALDEF) on behalf of former Ivy-employee Reymundo Martinez, who reportedly worked for the restaurant for five months as a busser. Martinez was diagnosed with HIV in December of 2012, and began a medication therapy program that caused strong side effects, making him temporarily unable to work. After going home sick from work once, Martinez was allegedly told not to come in for work for an entire week.

Martinez claims in his suit that after returning for work the following week, he was fully capable of performing the essential employment duties as long as he was given reasonable accommodation--which he requested from the management, providing a doctor's statement confirming that he was capable of working with accommodation.

The Los Angeles disability discrimination lawsuit claims that in January of 2011, Martinez's requests for reasonable accommodations were denied whereupon the restaurant proceeded to make non-related disability inquiries. His employment was allegedly terminated under the premise that he was not capable of carrying out his professional duties. MALDEF stated that it is against California law for a restaurant to discriminate against employees with HIV, and accused the Ivy of violating California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, (FEHA), which protects California individuals from employment discrimination.

As Vincent Howard stated in a previous Santa Ana employment lawyers blog, under the FEHA employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or job applicants with disabilities. When an individual has a disability, an employer must explore all options for reasonable accommodation before rejecting the person for a job or making any employment-related decisions. An accommodation is considered to be reasonable if it does not cause any undue hardship on the employer's business.

According to the restaurant owner, Richard Irving, the management had no idea that Martinez was sick during the period of time that he was working at the famous eatery. Irving claimed that Martinez only worked for the restaurant for around four to five months, as opposed to the majority of the long-term employees who have worked for the establishment for years. Irving claimed that Martinez's employment was terminated for a normal reason, and not due to his disability.

In cities throughout Orange County, contact our Carson labor and employment attorneys and managing partner Vincent Howard, for a free consultation about your California disability discrimination issue.

Suit alleges the Ivy fired employee diagnosed with HIV, The Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2012

Hollywood Hotspot The Ivy Sued For Allegedly Firing Employee Who Was HIV Positive, Radar Online, March 29, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act

California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC)

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Fair Employment and Housing Act

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