Last year, Milton Hershey School refused to enroll a 14-year-old Philadelphia boy, an honor-roll student, because he was HIV-positive. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discriminating against someone due to a disability, and requires that a school, or employer, meet with the individual to determine whether the individual’s needs can be reasonably accommodated. HIV is a disability under the ADA, which requires that a school, or an employer, consider reasonable accommodations. In the Milton Hershey School case, according to the subsequent lawsuit, the school not only failed to meet with the student, but it also simply denied admission based upon the HIV diagnosis. Accordingly, the Department of Justice found that the school had violated the ADA. On September 12, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that the school reached a settlement with the boy and his mother, which included a settlement amount of $700,000 to be paid to the boy and his mother. The school also agreed to policy changes and is paying civil penalties of $15,000.
For more information, see the DOJ announcement as well as this article from PennLive.com. If you feel you have been discriminated against based upon your HIV/AIDS status, or any other disability, please contact us to discuss your legal options.