Saavedra v. Nodak Enterprises
Case representing a skilled glass worker who was fired because his employer claimed his HIV status posed a “direct threat” to others
Joey Saavedra is a skilled auto-glass installer who worked in the industry for nearly three decades. When he was hired by Nodak Enterprises, he told his direct supervisor that he had HIV. Three months later, after news of his HIV status made its way up to the company’s leadership, Saavedra was fired — even though he did his job well and his direct supervisor wanted to keep him on staff. Saavedra’s termination notice informed him that the company believed his HIV status was a direct threat to the safety of others. After filing a lawsuit in federal court claiming Nodak violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lambda Legal reached a settlement with Nodak Enterprises. The settlement called for Nodak to adopt a nondiscrimination policy, conduct extensive training on HIV issues for its employees and pay an undisclosed amount of money to Saavedra.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against qualified people with disabilities. Companies must understand that discriminating against someone with HIV is not only bad for business, but is illegal.
Lambda Legal’s Impact
This case marks another victory for Lambda Legal’s workplace-fairness campaign, which has resulted in a number of groundbreaking employment victories for LGBT people and those with HIV. The campaign sends a powerful message to the general public — and to employers nationwide — that discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status will not stand.
- May 2004 Case is filed.
- May 2005 Case is settled.