(CHESAPEAKE, Va.) — Virginia resident Christopher Pena is alleging that Burger King fired him last year because he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
In a lawsuit brought last week, Pena, 35, said he was a district manager for nine Burger King restaurants in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach when he alerted his superiors about his condition in June 2011 that was discovered just two months earlier.
By September, Pena was given his walking papers due to what were termed as performance issues.
According to Pena, he had never been reprimanded during the eight years he spent at Burger King until he revealed he had HIV and then he was called on the carpet for firing an employee who had stolen money from the restaurant.
Victor Viramontes, national senior counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund that is representing Pena, says Burger King picked on the former manager’s performance because, “It’s rare that a sophisticated employer would say they were terminating you based on what the law says they can’t use.”
Pena wants an unspecified amount for damages and lost wage. He remains unemployed since his firing.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kathryn Vasel and Jill Disis, CNN
Rob McLean and Joshua Berlinger, CNN