Acting U.S. Attorney Settles Civil Rights Suit Against New York City For Violating The Americans With Disabilities Act
NYPD Refused to Hire HIV Positive Applicant for the Position of Police Communications Technician
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that the CITY OF NEW YORK (the “City”), and specifically the NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (“NYPD”), violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) through its medical disqualification of an HIV positive applicant for a Police Communications Technician position. The settlement agreement was entered today by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “The ADA prohibits employers from denying job applicants employment opportunities on the basis of a disability or perceived disability. As a result of this lawsuit, the City of New York has acknowledged that HIV status is not a basis to deny an individual employment. We will continue to work to ensure that employers do not discriminate against job applicants with disabilities.”
According to the Complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan on January 17, 2017, the applicant – who is HIV positive – applied for the position of Police Communications Technician. The applicant successfully underwent an initial screening process, which included a background check, and received a conditional offer of employment. Following receipt of the conditional offer of employment, the applicant was required to undergo a medical examination. Shortly after completion of the medical examination, the NYPD informed the applicant that he needed to submit additional paperwork, including a blood test. After the applicant submitted the requested paperwork, the NYPD disqualified him solely because of his “HIV low CD4 count.”
The NYPD’s failure to hire the applicant because of his HIV status was in clear violation of the ADA. ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals solely on the basis of a disability, such as being HIV positive, in the hiring process.
As part of the settlement, the City extended the applicant a conditional offer of employment, is paying the applicant $85,000, and acknowledges that its disqualification of the applicant based on his HIV low CD4 count was in error.
More information on the obligations of employers with respect to job applicants with disabilities is available at www.ada.gov and www.eeoc.gov.
Mr. Kim thanked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for its initial investigation of the Complaint.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Natasha Waglow Teleanu is in charge of the case.