New York Dealership Allegedly Fires Man For Being Gay, HIV-Positive

Empire State Building, lit for Gay Pride (pic by Flickr user ccho)Jeffrey Villacampa is a 20-year veteran of the auto industry. He is also gay. The Manhattan resident has worked for numerous employers over the past two decades, none of whom has had a problem with his sexual orientation.

Two of his former bosses also knew about his HIV-positive status, which he discovered five years ago. Villacampa says that it wasn’t an issue to either of them.

But in November of 2012, things took a turn for the worse. That’s when Villacampa went to work as a finance manager at Bayside Volkswagen in Queens, New York. In February 2013, Villacampa witnessed “an outrageously offensive conversation” taking place between managers at the dealership. He complained to Bayside’s GM, Suzanne Cochrane, but she did nothing, telling Villacampa that words like “faggot” aren’t offensive.

Last month, Villacampa had another run-in with a different co-worker, Angelo Alexiadis. Alexiadis told Villacampa that his brother was both gay and HIV-positive and that he’d been forbidden to enter Alexiadis’ house. Villacampa tried to explain that Alexiadis’ brother was no threat and urged him to re-consider the way he treated his sibling.

Alexiadis then asked Villacampa if he was HIV-positive himself. Villacampa revealed that he was.

Two days later, Villacampa was fired for alleged “problems” with his work.

Now, Villacampa has filed a $4 million lawsuit with the Supreme Court of the State of New York County, alleging that Bayside Volkswagen discriminated against him on the basis of sexual orientation. It appears that Villacampa has also filed charges against three of his former c0-workers for sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation.

It’s not clear whether Villacampa is also suing for discrimination on the basis of his HIV status. If he is, however, he may have strong legal footing: the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended in 2008, making HIV an officially recognized disability.

You can read details about the case — at least Villacampa’s side, since the dealership has refused to answer questions — at ABC News.

We’ll keep you posted as the story develops. And if Villacampa’s reports are accurate, here’s hoping that he takes them for every penny they’ve got.