Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Monday, October 27, 2008

7th Rejects AIDS Discrimination Claim

7thcireagle EEOC v. Lee's Log Cabin, ___F.3d___(7th Cir. Oct. 6, 2008), is an interesting as well as an important decision. The EEOC had filed suit under the ADA claiming that the employer refused to hire a plaintiff for a waitstaff position because she was HIV positive. However, after the employer moved for summary judgement, the EEOC switched its position and claimed that the refusal to hire was because plaintiff had AIDS.

The lower court dismissed of the case because the switch in position came to late. A disability associated with AIDS is not synonymous with being HIV positive. On appeal, the 7th affirmed, but on a different basis.
The 7th simply held that the EEOC attempted change was too late and did not find a need to make a determination whether AIDS and being HIV positive were synonymous. As the court stated:

Whether HIV and AIDS are synonymous
for all purposes under the ADA need not be
decided in this case. We note only that they are not synonymous
for the limited purpose relevant to the determination
at issue here—whether to entertain the EEOC’s
belated alteration of the factual basis of its claim—and
the district court’s judgment in this regard was manifestly
reasonable. The very first mention of AIDS came in the
EEOC’s response to Log Cabin’s motion for summary
judgment, and the court was entitled to regard this as
“too late” to change so basic a factual premise in the case

This decision is lengthly and well written. It also generated a well written dissent.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Employment Discrimination | Permalink

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