A Plant City woman has filed suit against 5-D Tropical, a Tampa fish farmer and importer, for AIDS discrimination.
The woman became sick two years ago, vomiting so frequently that she began keeping a waste can next to her desk at work. When she was diagnosed with AIDS, her supervisor allegedly told her, “I’m sorry, I feel bad … but we just can’t have it here,” and fired her.
5-D Tropical says she was fired for missing too much work and failing to return when promised.
This is the employee’s second lawsuit against 5-D, following an overtime suit settled with the company last October. Her attorney notes that 5-D Tropical has no employee handbook on discrimination law and no internal grievance process, and made no mention of chronic absences in the woman’s file. The employee seeks a seven-figure settlement plus reinstatement.
Final note: What would a seven-figure settlement do to your company? Every employer, no matter how small, must have an employee handbook, published policies, standard hiring and firing procedures and thorough documentation in personnel files.