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Teacher with HIV Settles Bias Suit Against Private School

A teacher has settled a discrimination lawsuit against a private school in Anne Arundel County that federal authorities said had fired him because he has the virus that causes AIDS.

In the consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. in Baltimore, Chauncey Stevenson is to receive $79,750, but the Chesapeake Academy in Arnold did not admit wrongdoing. Among the actions it must take are steps to teach its supervisors about the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law requires employers to accommodate workers’ disabilities.

“People that are living with HIV and AIDS should not be discriminated against because of their disability, and they should be treated with sensitivity,” Stevenson said. He said he lost his job after telling the head of the school in 2006 that he had HIV and missing half the academic year because of illness.

“I am very happy with the settlement,” he said, adding that a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS should not put people in fear for their jobs.

The EEOC sued the school last year on Stevenson’s behalf after efforts at a settlement failed.

“As long as employers continue to make employment decisions based on uninformed prejudices and irrational fears, we will continue to bring lawsuits like this,” Debra Lawrence, acting regional attorney for the EEOC, said in a statement.

Stevenson, 39, had taught second grade and music at Chesapeake Academy, an independent private school for preschool through fifth grade, since 2003. He became ill in late 2005, he said.

When Stevenson planned to take the rest of the academic year off, he told Michelman about his diagnosis.

The response he got, he said, was that the news would not sit well within the school community.

“I assumed I would be welcome to return in September 2006,” he said. “I got a letter, in May [2006], telling me my contract would not be renewed.”

If you or a family member has been subjected to wrongful termination or employment discrimination, then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Employment Discrimination Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.

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