The Justice Department Monday filed a lawsuit against the Town of Clarksville, Indiana for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that the Town’s police department unlawfully revoked a job offer to a qualified law enforcement officer based on 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.
“Every day, we depend on law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” said 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 subjected to unlawful discrimination. Individuals 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.”
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 qualified individual 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 Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The scientific community has agreed for years that an HIV diagnosis does not make an employee a risk to their colleagues or others. This lawsuit reflects the Justice Department’s firm commitment to protecting qualified workers, including those with HIV, from unlawful employment discrimination.”
This case is being 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.