HIV-Positive Service Rep Sues Desert Schools FCU Over Dismissal

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PHOENIX – A former member service rep for Desert Schools FCU filed a federal suit against the $3 billion credit union Friday, claiming his May firing was caused by physical impediments related to his infection with the AIDs virus, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Guillermo Cook-Salinas, 40, who worked for Desert Schools from August 2008 to May 11, claimed he was fired after symptoms caused by his HIV impaired his speech and prevented him from manning the credit union’s telephone call center. He said he requested a temporary transfer to a department using e-mail instead to save his voice and had doctors’ documentation of his condition, but was refused accommodation. The suit claims he subsequently was forced to miss many hours of work due to overuse of his voice.

Cook-Salinas filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December 2009 claiming the credit union was engaging in discriminatory employment practices by not making any meaningful attempt to accommodate his known disability. He claimed the credit union’s refusal to transfer him to a different job was in retaliation for his EEOC complaint.

The EEOC cleared the filing of a discrimination suit in June.

Credit union officials declined to comment on the case.

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