Alecia Tramel, an African American woman from Florida, has filed a discrimination lawsuit against massage parlor chain Massage Envy after they allegedly refused to give her a massage when an employee found out that she is HIV positive.
Tramel, who regularly gets a massage at least every month, did not expect to be humiliated when she visited Massage Envy in Aventura. But when an employee asked her about her medical history, things turned upside down.
“She asked me, ‘Do you have any medical conditions?’ I say, ‘I’m HIV positive.’ She said, ‘Get undressed to your underwear, get on the table and cover up,’ and she leaves out of the room,” Tramel told Local 10 News.
The employee, who has not yet been identified, then returned to her after 10 minutes and told her, “‘We will not be able to provide you with a service because you need a doctor’s consent.’”
Shocked, Tramel left the place where she should have been relaxing.
“I went to the car, sat in the car, and I said, ‘This is what it feels like.’ I think I was numb. I felt pain, isolation and fear from a place I went to get a service.”
Tramel, who had been diagnosed in 2000, added that she is symptom-free and her physical health and getting a doctor’s consent has never been an issue since.
“(The) first time in 19 years I feel devastated, but instead of it making me want to crawl under a rock, it fueled me,” Tramel said.
Now, Tramel is suing the owners of the franchise. Her lawyer, Courtney Cunningham, said, “You can’t discriminate in the provision of services, public accommodations, which Massage Envy is. You can’t discriminate in providing services to people who are HIV positive just because they are HIV positive.”