Lambda Legal Sues After Helicopter Paramedic Living With HIV Loses His Job

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September 10, 2015

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on behalf of Clinton (Clint) Moore, who was removed from his job as a flight paramedic with Air Evac Lifeteam (AEL) and demoted to a lower-paying post in the company dispatch center after informing company management that he had been diagnosed with HIV.

Kyle Palazzolo, HIV Project Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal, said:

Sadly, people living with HIV too often find themselves terminated from jobs solely because of their HIV-positive status. Clint and many others like him still suffer the consequences of their employers’ fear and ignorance. Mr. Moore’s HIV-positive status did not interfere with his ability to perform his job duties, and Air Evac Lifeteam over-reacted and unlawfully pulled Clint from the job he loved. This conduct is especially troubling from an employer in the health care field, who should already be aware that Mr. Moore’s HIV-positive status did not present a risk to either his patients or his coworkers. AEL and other employers in the health care industry need to get up to speed and stop discriminating against people living with HIV based on outdated science and misconceptions.

Mr. Moore was hired in 2008 as a flight paramedic by Air Evac Lifeteam, a Missouri-based helicopter ambulance service that transports patients to medical care facilities. In November 2013, Moore was diagnosed with HIV. Shortly after he informed his employer of his HIV diagnosis, company officials told Moore that he would need to petition the medical board in each of the five states where he flew missions or face removal from his job. Knowing that his job did not include tasks that would put the health or safety of his patients at risk—and that the suggested petition process was unnecessary — Mr. Moore refused. Because he needed to maintain his health care coverage, Mr. Moore was forced to take a position in AEL’s dispatch center, which paid significantly less and deprived him of the ability to directly care for those in need.

In its lawsuit, Lambda Legal claims AEL violated Title 1 of the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Missouri Human Rights Act.

HIV Project Director/Senior Attorney Scott Schoettes and HIV Project Staff Attorney Kyle Palazzolo are handling the case for Lambda Legal, joined by local counsel Bruce E. Hopson. The case is Moore v. Air Evac Lifeteam, and information on the case can be found here.

Read the press release.