U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement With Tattoo Studio For Alleged HIV Discrimination

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

SAN JOSE—The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced today that the United States has resolved a claim that Luna Tattoo Studio discriminated against a person with HIV in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Luna is a tattoo studio located in San Jose, California.  The Department of Justice received a complaint from a prospective customer who is HIV-positive.  The Complainant alleged that she was refused service by a tattoo artist who worked at Luna.  

Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as tattoo parlors, from excluding people with disabilities, including people with HIV, from enjoying the services they provide.  In this case, the settlement agreement includes key findings from the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Complainant’s allegations.  Specifically, the Department of Justice 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 Complainant that the possibility of the tattoo artist performing tattoo services on Complainant made other artists at Luna Tattoo “very uncomfortable.”    

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To resolve the complaint, Luna agreed to pay $7,000 in compensatory damages to the victim.  Luna also agreed, among other things, to develop a non-discrimination policy and to provide training to its employees for a two-year period.  

The United States recognizes Luna’s cooperation in reaching this resolution.

For more information regarding the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat HIV discrimination, please visit https://www.ada.gov/hiv/ada_hiv_discrimination.htm.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David DeVito handled the matter for the government, with assistance from Lillian Do.