Washington Blade - May 18, 2005
Lambda Legal announced today that it reached a settlement with
Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based Nodak Enterprises, bringing to a close
a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Joey Saavedra who alleged he
was fired for being HIV-positive.
Joseph Saavedra recently settled a lawsuit against his former
employer in Atlanta. Saavedra alleged in a lawsuit last year that
the company fired him for being HIV-positive.
In the settlement, Nodak Enterprises agreed to adopt a
nondiscrimination policy, conduct extensive training on HIV
issues for its employees, and pay an undisclosed amount of money
"Employers must come to understand that discriminating against
someone with HIV is bad for business and against the law," said
Jon Givner, director of Lambda Legal's HIV Project. "We're
pleased that the result was favorable for our client and also
sends a message that HIV discrimination will not and should not
Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in May 2004 on behalf of
Saavedra, claiming Nodak violated the Americans with Disabilities
Act, which prohibits discrimination against qualified people with
Saavedra first disclosed his HIV status in January 2003 when he
interviewed for the job at Service Auto Glass in Atlanta. Nodak
is the parent company of Saavedra's former employer. He said it
was never a problem with his direct supervisors. Saavedra is a
skilled auto-glass installer who has worked in the industry for
nearly 27 years.
"I knew right away that what Nodak did to me was wrong and I knew
that no one should have to endure that kind of humiliation and
disrespect just because of HIV. I'm glad I fought back and I hope
that others don't have to go through anything like this,"
Saavedra said at the time.
He was fired three days before his full employee benefits were to
be activated. His manager handed him a personnel form which
stated: "Employee is considered a direct threat to the safety of
others since there is a potential for lacerations in his current
Last month, Lambda Legal launced a public action against the
company last month is part of its ongoing "Blow the Whistle on
Workplace Discrimination" campaign, an effort to educate
employers about the rights of gay people and those with HIV in