U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE RESOLVES COMPLAINT FROM CUSTOMER WITH HIV WHO WAS REFUSED SERVICE BY TATTOO ARTIST

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced today that the United States has resolved a discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act against Ikonik Ink Tattoo.

Ikonik is a tattoo and piercing shop located in Lakewood, Colorado.  An individual who has HIV alleged that in March 2020, he asked Ikonik for a tattoo with a design related to his HIV status.  The individual claimed that after requesting the tattoo and disclosing his HIV status, he was refused service by a tattoo artist who worked at the Ikonik studio.  The individual then filed a complaint with the Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  That Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, which includes people who have been diagnosed with HIV. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office then took steps to address the complaint and resolve the matter.  Ikonik agreed to pay $4,400 in compensatory damages to the complainant, and the tattoo artist also agreed to pay $500 to the complainant.  Ikonik also agreed to develop a non-discrimination policy, train its employees on the policy, and to cease asking potential customers about their HIV status.   

“People with HIV have the right to equal access to businesses and services,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that those living with HIV do not face discriminatory barriers in any part of their everyday lives.”

This matter is part of an ongoing effort by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to enforce Title III of the ADA against companies and service providers that discriminate against individuals with HIV. 

This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeyen Wu.

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