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EEOC Alleges Employer Violated GINA by Requesting Family Medical Histories

On May 16, 2013, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an action against a nursing home and rehabilitation facility, claiming violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC claims that, among other things, the employer required applicants and employees to provide genetic information in response to questions about family and medical history, and that the employer lacked the requisite workplace postings specifying workers’ rights under the Act. Specifically, the EEOC contends that prospective and current employees were required to undergo medical examinations in order to be deemed fit to work, and during those examinations, the employees were asked for family medical histories which were then used to make adverse employment decisions to their detriment.  

This is the first class action lawsuit instituted by the EEOC for violations of GINA. Under GINA, it is illegal for employers to: 

  • fail or refuse to hire, or to fire any employee because of genetic information
  • discriminate against any employee regarding the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of genetic information
  • limit, segregate, or classify employees that would deprive the employee of employment opportunities (or otherwise adversely affect the employee’s employment status) because of genetic information
  • request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee or family member of the employee, unless the request is inadvertent, the employee consents, and in other limited, designated situations.
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