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Southern Indiana town settles with DOJ over HIV discrimination lawsuit

A wooden judge gavel and soundboard isolated on white background. (Provided Photo/Oana Malaeru/500px/Getty Images)

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The U.S. Department of Justice reached an agreement with the town of Clarksville after they sued the town for violating Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In April, the DOJ announced it was suing the town and said the Clarksville Police Department unlawfully revoked a job offer to a qualified police officer in 2015 after learning he had HIV. The ADA forbids employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability.

The agreement requires Clarksville to revise its policies on medical examinations and train personnel on the requirements of Title I of the ADA.

The town will also pay $150,000 in compensation to the officer and sign an affidavit saying his termination was not his fault.

The officer had served as a volunteer reserve officer with the department for over a year at the time they offered him the job.

Court papers say the position was contingent on him passing the state-mandated medical exam. During the exam in October 2015, the officer told the examiner he had HIV.

The medical examiner noted that officer had “no long-term evidence of active disease” from his HIV. The examiner then told the Clarksville police chief that the officer did not meet medical standards because his HIV posed a significant risk to his colleagues and the public.

His offer was withdrawn and his volunteer position was terminated, according to the DOJ.

“No individual should be subject to employment discrimination based on their HIV status. 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,” Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Kristen Clarke said.