A Utah man is suing Alaskan soldiers, saying his job offer was withdrawn after revealing his HIV status

Anchorage, Alaska • A Salt Lake City man who says his job offer to become an Alaska state trooper was withdrawn after he revealed he was HIV-positive filed a lawsuit in state court Thursday to have his post on the statewide to obtain police and prevent others from being subjected to similar alleged discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed electronically by Anchorage civil rights attorney Caitlin Shortell on behalf of a man identified only as John Doe, whose HIV is undetectable and non-transmissible.

“There are no concerns about his ability to perform the duties of the job and he is perfectly fit,” Shortell said, adding that he could work without accommodation.

Doe “is seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the Alaska State Troopers’ rejection of a job offer on the grounds that he is a person living with HIV, in the light of medical advances that affect an individual’s ability to meet entry criteria. render irrelevant. “Served with the Alaska State Troopers in any capacity,” the lawsuit reads.

Violations of civil rights laws, state and US constitutions, and the Alaska Human Rights Act are alleged. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which was not available online as of Thursday morning.

James Cockrell, the leader of the troupe, is named as the defendant; the state of Alaska; the Soldiers and Beacon Occupational Health and Safety, the Soldiers’ external supplier.

The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the soldiers, had not received the complaint as of Thursday, spokesman Austin McDaniel said in an email to The Associated Press.

However, he said the department stands by the decisions made in the case and “rejects the notion that that person was discriminated against”.

McDaniel said they cannot elaborate on the case because of the risk of litigation and privacy laws.

“The public has a great deal of trust in their law enforcement officers, and we screen a large amount of information, including a person’s criminal history, employment history, mental fitness, physical fitness, medical fitness and veracity, when selecting men and women who we want to become.” “The Alaska State Troopers need to make sure they can keep the public’s trust,” McDaniel said.

Aris Brimanis, Beacon’s operations manager in Anchorage, said the company had no immediate comment.

According to the lawsuit, Doe had wanted to be a police officer since childhood, where he volunteered at the California Highway Patrol Academy and worked as a scout in the local sheriff’s office while in high school. When he applied to be a soldier in April 2020, he was working as a flight attendant.

Six months later, he received a conditional offer of employment, the lawsuit said. It detailed how he passed the required written exam, two physical aptitude tests, a background test and an oral board interview.

Doe also passed the written psychological test and interview, and then had to undergo a lie detector test and medical exam as part of the terms of employment, the lawsuit alleges.

During the physical, Doe disclosed his disability status as a person living with HIV, the complaint states. He also provided Beacon’s nurses with recent lab results and a note from his doctor stating that he was capable of performing all the functions of a police officer without reasonable accommodation. However, the nurse noted on the records that Doe may need a placement.

The complaint said the practitioner, when asked if she had concerns about the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of the office, first wrote “no,” but then crossed them out and wrote “error,” referring to the guidelines for referred to a law enforcement officer. Doe argues that the guidelines are outdated and do not reflect advances in medicine for people living with HIV.

The next day, during a lie detector test, he was asked if he was taking any medication, the lawsuit says. He said yes, but stated that in his opinion it was a prohibited medical examination and that he had provided medical information to the nurse.

He told the examiner that he was uncomfortable disclosing his medical condition when asked what the drug was for. Doe then disclosed his HIV status to the examiner when he was told the interview process could be dropped if he refused, court documents show.

This lie detector was deemed inconclusive. He took another dose the next day, which he survived with no questions asked about his medical condition, the lawsuit says.

Doe said police later withdrew his conditional job offer and told him that although he had already received the conditional offer, there were better qualified applicants, and Doe said he was one of 10 finalists out of the original 245 applicants.

Doe said he was told other applicants had previous military experience and others had lived in Alaska. Neither is a requirement for employment, the lawsuit states. Half of the 10 finalists who were offered jobs didn’t live in Alaska, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit argues that those grounds “were nothing more than a false pretext for unconstitutional discrimination based on Doe’s HIV status.”

Justin Scaccy

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