San Jose tattoo studio discriminated against HIV positive client

The United States Attorney’s Office announced this week it had resolved a complaint relating to a San Jose Tattoo Studio who had discriminated against a woman because of her HIV status.

The case related to a woman who was HIV-positive who was refused service by an tattoo artist working at the Luna Tattoo studio in San Jose, California.

Investigators found that in August of 2020, the complainant made an appointment to receive a tattoo at Luna.  After informing the tattoo artist at Luna of her HIV-positive status, the prospective customer first was told that the artist would need to speak with the owner about the situation, and later, that the appointment was cancelled altogether.

In refusing to provide service, the tattoo artist told the woman that the possibility of the tattoo artist performing tattoo services on her had made other artists at Luna Tattoo “very uncomfortable.”

The Attorney’s Office found that the studio had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to her service. To resolve the complaint the studio agreed to pay the complainant USD $7,000 in compensatory damages and undertook to develop a non-discrimination policy and provide additional training to staff.

The case is one of many that occur in the USA which include people living with HIV being turned away from dentists, medical facilities, education providers and others businesses.

OIP Staff, stock image. 


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