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Indiana Police Dept. Settles With DOJ After Rejecting HIV+ Candidate

Photo by Brett Sayles

The city of Clarksville just got a lesson in the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Department of Justice settled their lawsuit against a town in Indiana, filed this April, that denied a qualified applicant for a Clarksville Police Department position due to the individual's HIV status. The Department of Justice clarified, “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.”

The lawsuit alleged that the town's police department violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act that prohibits an employer from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. 

U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers, representing the Southern District of Indiana, stated, “Workers living with HIV, including those in law enforcement, deserve to be free from unlawful discrimination. 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.”

According to the proposed terms of the negotiated agreement that is still pending court approval, the town of Clarksville must revise their policies and procedures involving employment-related medical examinations. Additionally, Clarksville must initiate additional training for relevant personnel regarding Title I of the ADA. Clarksville will also face a fine of $150,000 in compensatory damages to the complainant, along with a written statement under court oath that establishes to future employers that his termination by the town was through no fault of his own.

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