Justice Department Secures Agreement Resolving HIV Discrimination Lawsuit in Indiana
Cross-posted from the Department of Justice
The Justice Department [on September 15, 2022] filed a proposed consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to resolve its lawsuit against the Town of Clarksville, Indiana, for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The lawsuit alleged that the town’s police department unlawfully revoked a job offer to a qualified police officer because of his human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis. The officer had been successfully working for the Town’s police department as a volunteer reserve officer for over a year and was fully qualified to work as a police officer. Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. Discrimination includes withdrawing a job offer to a qualified individual based on unsupported and stereotypical views of the applicant’s disability.
“No individual should be subject to employment discrimination based on their HIV status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The complainant’s dream job was taken away because of unfounded assumptions that his HIV diagnosis would impact his ability to safely do the job. This settlement reflects the Justice Department’s firm commitment to enforcing the rights of job applicants and employees who experience unlawful discrimination based on disability.”
“Workers living with HIV, including those in law enforcement, deserve to be free from unlawful discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana. “This settlement will ensure that qualified individuals who seek to serve their communities won’t be excluded as a result of unfounded stereotypes and misinformation about HIV. This office will continue to work closely with our partners in the Civil Rights Division to protect the civil rights of employees and continue the fight to uphold the hard-fought protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Under the terms of the consent decree, which must be approved by the court, Clarksville will revise its policies and procedures regarding employment-related medical examinations and will train relevant personnel on the requirements of Title I of the ADA. The town will also pay $150,000 in compensatory damages to the complainant and provide the complainant with an affidavit that makes clear to future employers that his termination by the town was through no fault of his own.
Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. Discrimination includes withdrawing a job offer to a qualified individual based on unsupported and stereotypical views of the applicant’s disability.
This case was handled by the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana based on a referral from the Indianapolis District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The complaint can be viewed here.
For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit http://www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.