What turkey fired the HIV-positive employee?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Butterball, the Garner-based turkey processor, faces EEOC disability discrimination charges after it allegedly tolerated harassment against an HIV-positive employee and then fired her after she complained.

Tracy Montgomery says she en­­dured almost daily harassment from three co-workers. She claims they constantly told her that they did not want to work with her or touch her.

According to Montgomery’s EEOC complaint, she told her boss about the harassment.

The supervisor convened a meeting designed to resolve the problem, which Mont­­gomery and one of the co-workers attended. But one day later, Montgomery was fired.

She quickly filed a complaint with the EEOC, alleging Butterball violated the ADA by permitting the ongoing harassment and then terminating her after she complained. The EEOC tried to resolve the dispute through its conciliation process. When those efforts failed, it filed a lawsuit on Montgomery’s behalf.

Advice: The law views disability har­­assment the same way it views sexual harassment. Employers should, too.

Quickly and professionally investigate all charges of disability harassment. A little extra effort can go a long way in such cases—consider training supervisors and employees about disability harassment.

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