Kemper Moving Systems Inc., a Huntsville, AL, franchise of Two Men and a Truck, settled with the Department of Justice and has agreed to pay $10,000 in compensation to the victim and a $3,500 civil penalty to the United States. The court’s case made clear that the company has openly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they refused to help move a customer due to the infection.
An investigation found the company’s supervisors and employees were informed by the customer that it wasn’t possible for any employees to contract the infection through moving furniture or coming in casual contact with an infected person. However, the employees maintained their position and the company canceled the move.
As well as paying the victim restitution, the company has been ordered to adopt a series of non-discrimination training and policy reforms.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta stressed the importance of the ruling and the ongoing protection of the ADA.
“The ADA prevents public accommodations, including moving companies, from denying service to people because of their disability status,” Gupta said. “The Department of Justice stands firmly committed to protecting the rights of people who live with Hepatitis-C by combating unlawful discrimination, addressing unfounded stereotypes and eradicating the painful stigma that interferes with their daily lives.”
On average, most Americans move 12 times during their lifetimes. This common event can become excessively complicated for those with a disability, however, especially if a company refuses service on the basis of such a disability.
Due to the last-minute cancellation, the customer was left with few options. According to the AIDS.gov website, the customer was then required to pay rent for two apartments, find last-minute replacement movers and incurred a variety of other expenses as a result.
According to the Department of Justice, the settlement reached this week requires the parent company, Two Men and a Truck, to implement and enforce a nondiscrimination policy on top of employee training. The enterprise is also required to hire and designate an ADA Compliance Official who will review disability-related decisions.