LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Ivy may be a celebrity hot spot and paparazzi hub, but Thursday night cameras were focusing on the restaurant instead of the people inside.
A former busboy has filed a lawsuit against The Ivy, one of L.A.’s trendiest restaurants, claiming that he lost his job because he is HIV positive.
“That’s actually shocking and kind of a little upsetting,” said Ivy patron Zulema Luevanos.
The plaintiff, Reymundo Martinez, did not want to go on camera because of his medical condition. But according to his lawyer, Martinez was hired as a busboy in August, diagnosed with HIV in December and fired soon after.
“Our client was a former busboy at The Ivy, who was doing his job and performing well. When he informed The Ivy that he was sick and gave them a note from a famous HIV clinic in Hollywood, they immediately terminated him within a few days,” said Victor Viramontes, Martinez’ attorney.
Viramontes, with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles hangout. He claims The Ivy violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
“Employers need to understand that they can’t discriminate against these people and that’s why we filed suit today [Thursday],” Viramontes said.
The owner of The Ivy, Richard Irving, told us that he was not discriminating against Martinez. He said he fired him because he simply was not a good bus boy.
“The Ivy goes out of its way to help people with family problems and medical problems. But we didn’t know he (Martinez) was sick,” Irving said in a statement.
Ivy patrons we spoke with said they had mixed feelings about the case.
“I don’t think I’d be coming back after what I hear,” Luevanos said.
“I’m in the restaurant business and I know sometimes there are disgruntled employees, and that they’ll claim certain things and they may not be true,” said patron, Liz Ligreci.
The Ivy has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.