Illinois J.C. Penney Store Fired Man Because of His HIV-Positive Status, Lawsuit Says
May 25, 2005
Attorneys representing a former shoe department manager at a J.C. Penney store in Niles, Ill., last week in an Illinois state court filed a lawsuit alleging the man was fired in 2003 because of his HIV-positive status, the Chicago Tribune reports. The suit -- filed in Cook County Circuit Court -- alleges that Joseph Manasse was falsely accused of theft by managers at the J.C. Penney store in order to fire him because they were uncomfortable with his HIV-positive status, according to the Tribune. Manasse -- who is seeking more than $7 million in damages -- ran the shoe department for 15 months until May 20, 2003, when he was fired. During his tenure as manager, shoe sales increased by 11%, the department's staff grew from four to 11 people, and Manasse received a merit pay raise and excellent performance review less than one month before his firing, according to the suit. Manasse said his managers told him he was being fired because cash registers were short a combined $66.20 from three separate days and they had caught him on closed circuit monitors stealing money. The J.C. Penney store charged him with theft, but he was found not guilty by a judge, the suit says, adding that Manasse has been unable to find employment because of the theft charge on his credit report (Rose, Chicago Tribune, 5/24). Store manager James Voeller and loss-prevention managers Michael Chubeck and Rodney Wetmore also were named as defendants in the suit (Scheffler, Crain's Chicago Business, 5/19).
Reaction, Past Lawsuits
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