Atlanta HIV Discrimination Case Moves Forward

February 9, 2012

Recently, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Atlanta district court made three crucial errors when it rejected an HIV-positive claim of disability discrimination against the Atlanta police department.

In Roe v. Atlanta, Richard Roe sued the city for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) after he was rejected as a police officer candidate. The ADA prohibits disability discrimination in several ways, including banning discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability in the terms and conditions of employment such as hiring, firing and promoting.

Here the Appellate Court found that Roe could maintain his claim against the city for several reasons. First, the 11th Circuit court found that the lower court too quickly assumed that Roe would not be able to refute the city’s claim that he wasn’t hired because he would pose a direct threat to others. Discovery responses provided in the case showed that the department didn’t consider HIV to be a “medically disqualifying condition” and that the city didn’t have a policy against hiring people who tested HIV-positive. As a result, Roe was lulled into believing that he didn’t have to show his condition wasn’t serious. Additionally, the court didn’t look into whether the city violated the ADA by having Roe submit to a medical examination before extended him a conditional job offer. Because of these errors, the appellate court determined that Roe could move forward with his claim of discrimination against the police department.

This case is important because it shows that in some cases an employer’s own policy handbook or lack of a policy can support claims of discrimination.

If you believe you may have been discriminated against by your employer – or your potential employer – it is important to discuss just what happened and the circumstances surrounding the potential discrimination with a top Georgia discrimination lawyer. An experienced Georgia employment discrimination attorney can evaluate all of the issues in your situation and help you determine your next steps.

For more information concerning disability discrimination or any other form of employment discrimination, contact the dedicated Atlanta employee’s rights attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for a confidential consultation.