Atlanta to Pay $250K to Lambda Legal Client Denied Police Job Because of HIV

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August 22, 2012

The city of Atlanta has offered to pay $250,000 to a Lambda Legal client who was denied a job as a police officer because he has HIV.

Lambda Legal represents a 40-year-old Georgia man (identified in court documents as "Richard Roe" to protect his privacy) who applied for a job with the Atlanta Police Department (APD) in 2006. During a pre-employment medical exam, the APD learned that Roe was HIV-positive, and the doctor informed Roe that his HIV status disqualified him from the job.

Roe sued the city of Atlanta in federal district court, which ruled in the city's favor. Lambda Legal took the case on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court decision and sent the case back to district court. Today, Lambda Legal announced it has accepted a settlement.

Lambda Legal HIV Project Director Scott Schoettes says:

We are pleased with this resolution and expect that the city of Atlanta will never let this happen again. People with HIV are working in law enforcement all across this country, and there is no reason their service should not be welcomed and encouraged by the Atlanta Police Department.

Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal's Atlanta office, says:

We are glad that the city of Atlanta has moved to right its wrong. We expect that the city, after paying out settlements in both the Eagle raid case and now this case, has learned to avoid the unnecessary costs of failing to treat LGBT people and those living with HIV fairly and appropriately.

More about the case here.