Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of New Albany, Indiana, to Resolve Disability Discrimination Complaint
The Department of Justice today announced that it reached an agreement with the city of New Albany, Indiana (New Albany), to resolve its lawsuit alleging that the New Albany Police Department and Merit Commission discriminated against an employee on the basis of his disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that the New Albany Police Department and Merit Commission disclosed to the public and press an employee’s confidential medical information, which it had obtained through employment-related medical examinations and inquiries. The complaint further alleges that New Albany provided documents and information detailing the employee’s disability, prescription medications, medical care, and psychological evaluations to the press and that, as result of this unlawful disclosure, local press widely publicized the employee’s medical information.
Under the agreement, New Albany’s Police Department and Merit Commission will institute policies to keep confidential its employees’ medical information and procedures to effectively respond to employees’ complaints of unlawful disclosure of medical information. The City of New Albany will also ensure that Police Department and Merit Commission officials, supervisors, and personnel who have access to employees’ confidential medical information are fully trained in those policies. In addition, New Albany will pay $100,000 in compensatory damages to the employee.
“Under the ADA, employers have a legal responsibility to keep confidential their employees’ medical information. This responsibility is critical to ensuring that employees with disabilities can work without fear of discrimination,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This agreement is another important step towards eliminating employment barriers for people with disabilities.”
“The unlawful disclosure in this case deprived an employee of his privacy and his dignity, causing him to endure public ridicule and emotional stress,” said U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler of the Southern District of Indiana. “We commend the City of New Albany for committing to changing its policies, training its staff, and compensating the employee.”
This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Indianapolis District Office, which completed the initial investigation of the facts.
To read the settlement agreement, please find it here, and to read the complaint, please find it here. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.