We're celebrating 10 Days of Membership! Today's Gift: $20 off your professional membership with promo 10DAYS20OFF
Training, policies and tools to help HR prevent and respond to harassment claims.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Develop your HR competencies and knowledge in-person in 12 U.S. cities or virtually.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged Joy Underground Mining LLC based in Pittsburgh with violating federal law for allegedly requiring applicants to provide a family medical history during the hiring process.
The EEOC is suing the company for improperly enquiring into applicants’ family medical histories for cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease and tuberculosis during a post-offer medical examination, in violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
For employers with more than 15 employees, GINA protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. GINA also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees, except in very narrow circumstances.
“The EEOC contends that this practice violates GINA because it deprives applicants from employment or otherwise adversely affects their status as applicants for employment because of their genetic information,” said Christopher G. Gegwich, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s labor and employment group, based in New York City. There are some exceptions to the general prohibition against acquiring genetic information in the employment context, but they are extremely limited, he added.
Those exceptions include:
GINA also prohibits harassment of an employee or applicant because of his or her genetic information, as well as retaliation against an employee or applicant for filing a GINA-based charge of discrimination or participating in a genetic information discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
In short, any employment action based on or taken due to reliance on genetic information, even an action that might be intended to benefit the employee, will violate GINA, according to the EEOC. For example, an employer cannot reassign an employee to another job because the employer believes the current job is too stressful based on the employee’s family medical history of heart disease.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies