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Bus Boy Allegedly Fired For HIV Status Sues The Ivy Restaurant

Five months after being hired as a busboy at The Ivy Restaurant in Los Angeles, Reymudo Martinez found out he was HIV positive. A month later, after struggling with his work responsibilities due to side effects from his HIV medication and a request from his doctor for a more accommodating shift, Martinez was fired.

Martinez alleges that he was fired because of his medical condition rather than for poor work performance. According to the lawsuit, the only negative feedback he received while employed at The Ivy was the letter terminating his employment.

The Ivy denies discriminating against Martinez on the basis of his HIV status. Owner Richard Irving responded to publicity about the wrongful termination lawsuit by saying that Martinez had been on probation at the restaurant, and despite training and time to improve, just didn't make the cut and had to be let go. Irving further asserted that they were unaware of Martinez's HIV status when he was fired.

But, according to Martinez's lawsuit filing, he had asked for accommodation due to a physical disability and medical condition. His doctor provided written documentation to restaurant management that Martinez was able to continue doing his job, but would need to change his work hours and may have some side effects related to treating his condition. At that point, the lawsuit filing states, The Ivy asked what, specifically, was his medical condition and refused to make any accommodations.

Martinez alleges that he was discriminated against because of a disability (his medical condition), that The Ivy asked inappropriate questions as to the nature and extent of his disability, that The Ivy did not make reasonable accommodations that would allow him to continue working despite his disability and that he was wrongfully terminated. Martinez initially filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Source: LA Weekly, "The Ivy Restaurant Sued by HIV-Positive Worker Reymundo Martinez," Dennis Romero, March 29, 2012

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