The Department of Justice announced an agreement with Two Men and a Truck on January 28, requiring the company to pay $13,500 in fines for discriminating against a woman with Hepatitis C.
On September 15, 2012, one of the company’s franchises, Huntington-Alabama based Kemper Moving Co., was scheduled to assist a 46-year-old woman move to her new apartment. Shortly after the movers began loading the moving truck, one of the woman’s friends, who was there to provide additional assistance, told one of the movers that the woman has Hepatitis C.
Although the woman explained to the movers that Hepatitis C can not be transmitted through moving furniture or casual contact, the company refused to finish the job, according to the DOJ’s complaint. As a result, she was forced to hire another moving company, temporarily pay rent on two leases, and incur other expenses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hepatitis C virus can only be transmitted through direct exposure to infected blood, such as by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs.
She proceeded to file a complaint with the DOJ, alleging that the company’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Under the consent decree, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Two Men and a Truck agreed to pay the woman $10,000 in damages, as well as a $3,500 civil penalty to the DOJ. It also agreed to create a nondiscrimination policy and implement additional procedures and training to ensure company employees comply with the ADA.
“The ADA prevents public accommodations, including moving companies, from denying service to people because of their disability status,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, in a news release. “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.”