Detroit Dental Worker Pursued with Lysol, Banned from Touching Doorknobs, Fired from Job After HIV Diagnosis

A petition calling for the resignation of the regional director of Great Expressions Dental in Detroit for discriminatory tactics and hindrance of employment equal opportunity has been signed by more than 35,000 people following reports of the treatment of a former employee of the company after he was diagnosed with HIV:

GreatexpressionsAfter being diagnosed with HIV, James White was banned from touching doorknobs, was followed around by coworkers with bottles of Lysol, and subjected to sudden and abrupt schedule changes. After complying with the schedule changes, he was written up for "unexcused absences."

After seven months of enduring this vitriolic, unjustified discrimination, White fell ill and was hospitalized for a week. Great Expressions Dental called to terminate his employment the day before he was scheduled to return back to work.

White's lawyer, Nicole Thompson, has received the "right to sue" letter from the EEOC and is currently in the process of filing a lawsuit demanding compensatory and punitive damages of $140,000 and $45,000, respectively, and requiring the company to post notice of the agreement as well as providing training on HIV/AIDS and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This extreme case of HIV discrimination and gross violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act is absolutely unacceptable. Every reputable medical establishment in the U.S., including the United States Centers for Disease Control, agrees that HIV/AIDS is not transmitted by casual contact.


  1. Bob R says

    Only suing for $185,000 total? I’d sue for several million at least and REQUIRE training on HIV and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    Here we are in the 21st century and we’re still dealing with this level of ignorance and prejudice concerning HIV. I am sooo tired of ignorant “medical professionals” being allowed to hold licenses.

  2. Adam says

    I’m curious to see what his job was there. Was he a hygienist? Or was he an office worker? While it’s horrible to see what he went through, I have to admit: I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable having a hygienist who is HIV-positive. You can all lampoon me now for not being sensitive, but again, not sure I’d be comfortable about that.

  3. DB says

    This treatment does seem extreme, but I really don’t think I would be comfortable with a dentist who is infected by HIV or any other fatal and incurable communicable disease.

  4. Boomer says

    Adam and DB…as a dentist, when a dental professional is using OSHA prescribed universal precautions and following the infection control protocol you have virtually nothing to fear about acquiring HIV from them.

  5. Ron says

    Really @Adam & @DB? It’s 2012, not 1985! I don’t know if James White is a dentist but medical professionals take precautions (i.e. gloves, masks, etc.) to protect their health and the health of their patients. This kind of unnecessary, irrational fear is what fuels the type of hatred and discrimination experienced by Mr. White. I’m saddened that anyone, especially gay men of all people still feel this way about our brothers and sisters of any orientation who are living with HIV.

  6. Marc C says

    @UPSETTER: HIV is considered a disability.

    @ADAM & DB: Honestly I don’t know what to say about your vulgar ignorance that won’t be blocked by Towleroad so I’ll just hold my tongue.

  7. Randy says

    If you were one of the 35,000 who signed, you need to RE-SIGN it, because the petition was changed due to threat of lawsuit. New petition is at the same link.

  8. Mister J says

    “Adam and “DB” is actually RICK (formerly Ratbastard) signing with different handles. They are clearly part of the Westboro psycho, mentally deranged Church and family. If a post smells like a troll…IT IS A TROLL. In this case, a mentally disturbed, emotionally raped troll. Bless it’s psycho heart.

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