An Atlanta man has alleged that the Atlanta Police Department (APD) has violated federal law and not hired him because he is HIV positive. Roe, a pseudonym to protect his future employment interests, originally filed a claim in September 2008 with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of Georgia claiming hiring discrimination against APD under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act prohibits employers from discrimination against potential employees for having HIV.
According to Roe, he passed many of the tests required for becoming a police officer including a background check and a written test, but when the Dr. Alton Greene found out Roe had HIV during a routine blood test, the doctor told APD he was a potential threat to public safety. The city claimed that Dr. Alton Greene recommended that Roe have “no physical contact or involvement with individuals.”
The District Court granted the City of Atlanta’s motion for summary judgment stating that Roe did not present sufficient evidence disproving the claim that he would be a threat to public safety in the role of police officer. Roe, represented by Lambda Legal, then filed an appeals claim in the 11th Circuit Court attempting to overturn that decision. The 11th Circuit will hear the case today (January 25, 2012).
Lambda Legal has published a statement about this case. According to its website, Lambda Legal is “arguing that Roe presented sufficient evidence to carry any burden he has to show his HIV is not a threat to others, and that the city should not have been permitted to argue that he is a ‘direct threat’ after taking the contrary position leading up to summary judgment.”
This is Lambda Legal’s full news release about the case.