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Lambda Legal, with partners McDermott Will & Emery and Merchant Gould P.C., filed a federal lawsuit against Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County late last week challenging the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s (MNPD) discriminatory policies and practices that reject all job applicants living with HIV. 

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff, a 45-year-old Black man and decorated civil servant living with HIV who has worked as a Tennessee State Trooper and with the Memphis Police Department for several years. The plaintiff was previously offered a position in the MNPD, but his 2020 offer was later rescinded solely because of his HIV status. 

The Police Department’s policy rejected the plaintiff’s application during the Civil Service Medical Officer’s exam process claiming that an applicant “must meet or exceed the medical standards set forth in the United States Army Induction Standards.” MNPD uses the Pentagon’s medical exam policies for hiring purposes. Lambda Legal is fighting this same hiring policy from the Pentagon in federal court in the lawsuit Wilkins v. Austin, related to the U.S. Armed Forces’ policy barring people living with HIV from enlisting.  

The lawsuit filed last week, John Doe v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department argues that MNPD’s policies are unlawful and constitute a violation of federal law including, but not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.