Police revoked job offer after learning candidate was HIV-positive and allege lawsuit
The city of Clarksville, Indiana, is accused of illegally revoking a job offer to a qualified attorney after learning he was HIV-positive, according to a news release from the Justice Department, which filed the complaint. complaint on April 25.
The lawsuit argues that such HIV-related discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which views HIV as a disability. Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals because of their disability.
When the officer was offered the job in 2015, he had already been volunteering with the city police department for more than a year as a reserve officer. He had received a conditional job offer and had to pass a compulsory medical examination.
The officer told the medical examiner he was taking antiretroviral drugs under the direction of an HIV doctor, according to Fox59.com. Examiner noted applicant showed ‘no long-term evidence of active disease’ but then told police chief officer did not meet medical requirements because his ‘HIV was an’ communicable disease “that posed a ‘significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of his colleagues and the public,’ according to court documents cited by Fox59.
As POZ Basics on HIV/AIDS explains, HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and breast milk, and is usually contracted through unprotected sex or sharing needles, mother to child during pregnancy or breastfeeding or being stuck with a needle or receiving a blood transfusion. Given these facts of transmission, the agent did not represent a danger to the safety of his colleagues or the general public.
Based on the examiner’s assessment, the police department revoked the job offer. However, after the candidate appealed the decision, the city of Clarksville recognized that he was qualified and put him back on its hiring list, but the city never offered him a job.
He sought help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which eventually referred the matter to the Department of Justice.
“No qualified person should lose a hard-earned career opportunity because of misguided views about their disability that are not supported by medicine or science,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division of the Ministry of Justice, in the press release on the case. . “This lawsuit reflects the Department of Justice’s strong commitment to protecting skilled workers, including those who are HIV-positive, from unlawful discrimination in employment.”
“Every day, we depend on law enforcement putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” added U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana. “Those who are qualified and seek to serve their communities should not be unlawfully discriminated against. People living with HIV are entitled to the full protection of our anti-discrimination laws. Our office will work closely with our partners in the Civil Rights Division to ensure that those who seek to serve the public are not unlawfully discriminated against.
See our POZ cover story “Challenge Discrimination” (pictured above) on taking action against stigma and discrimination. It includes advice on making an HIV complaint.
The ADA does more than protect employees and job applicants from discrimination. It should be noted that Title III of the ADA states that public facilities, such as doctors’ offices and hair salons, cannot refuse services to people with disabilities, including people living with HIV. This led to countless lawsuits and settlements. For example, see “Nail salon must pay $7,500 for refusing to provide services to HIV-positive client.”
For more information about the ADA and HIV-related discrimination, visit ADA.gov/HIV. You can file an ADA complaint with the Department of Justice online and by mail. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.gov or call 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).