Albuquerque Man Accuses Real Estate Group of HIV Discrimination
R. Vance Gilbert of Albuquerque, N.M., filed suit in federal court Dec. 12 against his former employer, United Dominion Realty Trust Inc. of Richmond, Va., alleging that he was fired from his job as a rental property manager after he disclosed his HIV status to a regional manager, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Gilbert disclosed his condition to his regional manager in late June or early July of 1999 and was fired "little more than a month later" for what he alleges were "made-up reasons." Gilbert says his manager told him he had a "poor work performance" and did not follow company rules, although he was evaluated as "satisfactory or better" before his disclosure. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Office determined in August that the company "might have acted improperly" with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act for terminating him without "performance" counseling or notice. Gilbert's lawsuit argues that his firing was "procedurally improper" because he was denied an appeal and was not given the option to transfer properties or accept a demotion, as other directors with sub-standard performance records had been allowed to do in the past. Union Dominion legal counsel Barrie Bowers said that the company, which maintains more than 300 apartment complexes nationwide, "categorically den[ies] the allegations and can't comment any further because the litigation is pending" (Contreras, Albuquerque Journal, 1/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.