We were one of the first outlets to bring you the story of a Detroit-area man making some alarming claims of HIV-related discrimination at the hands of Great Expressions Dental Centers. The story has picked up steam across mainstream media, and, likely feeling the heat, Great Expressions has just sent Instinct its first statement in reaction to the story.
In early December, POZ reported on the planned lawsuit waged by James White against Great Expressions.
He says he was prohibited from touching doorknobs in the office. Staff members followed him around with Lysol, spraying and wiping down the surfaces he touched. He was subjected to unexpected changes in his schedule—called and told to come in later than scheduled, or to leave earlier than expected. When he complied with the scheduling offers, he was written up for unexcused absences.
On Wednesday, Todd Gustke, Vice President of Human Resources Great Expressions Dental Centers, issued a response to the suit:
Great Expressions takes pride in being an equal opportunity employer – not just in adherence to the law, but because we believe it makes us a better company. In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions at Great Expressions Dental Centers are based on merit, qualifications and abilities.
Recently, numerous public and false allegations have been made in an online campaign seeking to paint Great Expressions Dental Centers in a negative light. This malicious campaign has resulted in emails and harassing telephone calls to our employees and shareholders. We immediately petitioned the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, seeking a declaration in the proper forum that we did not discriminate or otherwise violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. We are confident that the Court will find these accusations to be without merit.
It is our corporate policy to not comment on employees and former employees in the media or online, especially on issues related to employees’ health status.
Great Expressions Dental Centers employs over 1900 people in 7 states. Our team reflects the community we serve, including individuals from the GLBTQ community.
We'll keep you updated as the story develops.