Lundy brought suit against his former employer alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101) (ADA) when he was fired after his employer Phillips learned of Lundy’s positive HIV status.
In 2011, Phillips Staffing offered Lundy a position at Hubbell Lighting. As a new hire, Lundy was required to fill out a medical questionnaire. Lundy failed to disclose his HIV status, believing he was only required to disclose medical information that would impair his ability to safely perform the job. Later in his employment, in a routine physical exam, Lundy disclosed he was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and was taking HIV medications. After this disclosure, Lundy was terminated from his employment.
Although the fourth circuit had not definitively held that asymptomatic HIV is a per se disability, the court determined Lundy’s asymptomatic HIV status qualifies as a disability. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 clarified ADA interpretation in favor of broad coverage, defining substantial limits in a major life activity to include “the body’s immune system response.” Thus, due to the physical impact on his hemic and lymphatic systems, Lundy qualified as disabled. The court also found Lundy had presented sufficient evidence to raise a question of fact as to Phillips’ motive in terminating his employment because Lundy’s job performance appeared adequate and Phillips was inconsistent in their reasoning for termination.