Couture v. Bonfils Memorial Blood Center, Amicus Brief, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Center's Legal Initiatives Project (CLIP)

Pleadings and Briefs

The Center's Legal Initiatives Project (CLIP), along with several other organizations, submitted this amicus brief urging reversal of the trial court's determination that moving an HIV-positive phlebotomist from his job to a less satisfactory position that required less skill is not an "adverse employment action" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA). In this case, the phlebotomist was involuntarily removed from his position when he told his employer that he was HIV-positive. The employer was concerned about the public's perception and fears about the risk of HIV transmission to blood donors. The employer encouraged him to apply for another position, which he did, and hired him for another position that did not involve drawing blood. Because the two jobs were entirely dissimilar, the phlebotomist found the new job unsatisfactory and ultimately sued his employer for disability discrimination. The brief argues that requiring the phlebotomist to take another position was an adverse employment action because (1) it was a reassignment with significantly different duties, (2) the new job offered less compensation, and (3) the reassignment was involuntary and undesired. Because both the ADA and CADA prohibit employers from making decisions to hire, fire, or reassign an employee based on the employee's disability, the employer's actions were in violation of both laws, and the district court's decision upholding the employer's actions undermined the purpose of both laws.