The U.S. Department of Justice announced it has filed a lawsuit against a town in Indiana that denied a job in their police department to an applicant who is living with HIV.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and alleges the town of Clarksville unlawfully rescinded a job offer in their police department to a qualified candidate strictly based on the candidate’s HIV status. The lawsuit alleges Clarksville violated Title I of the ADA with their actions.
“No qualified individual should lose a hard-earned career opportunity because of misguided views about their disability that are not supported by medicine or science,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “This lawsuit reflects the Justice Department’s firm commitment to protecting qualified workers, including those with HIV, from unlawful employment discrimination.”
“Every day, we depend on law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana said in a statement. “Those who are qualified and seek to serve their communities should not be subjected to unlawful discrimination. Individuals living with HIV are entitled to the full protection of our anti-discrimination laws.”
The unnamed candidate had been serving as a volunteer reserve police officer for a year and had received an offer of a job in October of 2015 pending the results of a state-mandated medical examination. The candidate revealed they were living with HIV during the examination and was otherwise healthy, but the examiner recommended against hiring the candidate and the employment offer was withdrawn.
“The Town of Clarksville has been aware of the complaint and has been working with the DOJ to resolve the matter,” Town Manager Kevin Baity said in a statement quoted by WKYU. “Despite the recently filed lawsuit, the Town of Clarksville will continue to work to find an amicable solution to the complaint.”
U.S. Attorney Myers made clear the Department takes seriously claims of discrimination.
“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,” Myers emphasized.