Getting Ugly With Lysol
Change.org, an online organizer for social change, has mobilized thousands in support of James White, a 26-year-old Michigan resident who claims he was subjected to systematic abuse at his job — including being sprayed with Lysol and prohibited from touching doorknobs — and then fired after he tested positive for HIV.
White alleges that after his employer, Great Expressions Dental Center, leaked news of his diagnosis to coworkers, he became subject to the abuse. He also says that while in the hospital on an HIV-related illness, the company called him and told him not to return to work.
According to change.org, the Detroit office of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that there was “reasonable cause” to believe White was discriminated against because of his HIV-status. That finding could be helpful in the civil litigation White plans against the company.
The website’s efforts on White’s behalf, which call for an apology from the company and reparations, were organized by James Harris, a fourth-year student at the University of Oklahoma who directs an HIV/ AIDS action group on campus.
“It’s absolutely tragic and shocking that 30 years after HIV was first discovered, we’re still seeing vile acts of discrimination toward those who are HIV-positive,” said Harris. “Nobody should have to experience the type of discrimination and harassment that James White suffered. This is too atrocious a crime not to evoke public outrage.”
The dental office is part of a national chain that operates 150 locations in seven states.