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Subway Franchisee Settles EEOC Claims over Firing HIV-Positive Worker

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INDIANAPOLIS - A Subway franchisee has now settled a 2015 discrimination lawsut brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for firing a worker who was HIV positive.  As part of the settlement, KAY QSRS Inc. has agreed to pay the "John Doe" employee $10,155.49 in back wages, $31,801.26 for compensatory damages, and $8,043.25 to his attorney.

The Commission claimed that the franchisee had engaged in unlawful practices at his Sheridan, Indiana store in violation of Section 102(a) of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, when he terminated the worker due to "his disability under Human Immunodeficiency Virus." Although the franchisee, owner of five Subway sandwich shops, disagreed with EEOC's allegations, he chose to resolve the matter to avoid the burden and expense of further litigation.

As part of the settlement, KAY QSRS Inc. agreed to distribute to all its store managers a "notice of non-discrimination" to be posted at each restaurant. The company also agreed to EEOC training on hiring, accommodation, direct threat and collection and storage of employee and applicant medical information for all managers and supervisors within 90 days of the settlement. For the next five years, the franchisee entity must also submit required scheduled progress reports to the Commission. And he must provide five signed copies of a letter of recommendation for the terminated employee, through his attorney.

EEOC attorney Nancy Edmonds told an Indianapolis WTHR television news reporter last month that the Subway management apparently treated the employee based on what she called "a stereotype that people who are in the restaurant business are contagious and that people can contact HIV through food." She stated, "I think it's important for the public to see that discrimination occurs especially for people who are HIV-positive."

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About Janet Sparks

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Janet Sparks is the former publisher of the Continental Franchise Review, an industry newsletter that covered the franchise community for over 30 years. She has also been a columnist for a leading franchise magazine for the past 13 years. Today she is an independent journalist who engages in investigative reporting, tackling complex issues that impact the franchise industry.

Janet can be reached at or at 303-799-7398.