Employee Family Medical History is Off Limits to Employers

A recent EEOC settlement is a reminder that the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from requesting genetic information (which includes information about an employee’s family medical history) and from making employment decisions based on genetic information.  The settlement arose from a case in which the EEOC alleged, among other wrongdoing, that an employer requested information about applicants’ family medical history as part of the employer’s post-offer, pre-employment medical exams.  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-13-14.cfm

The EEOC has made addressing genetic discrimination a national priority as part of its Strategic Enforcement Plan.  Accordingly, employers should be careful to avoid making genetic inquiries of applicants and employees. More information about GINA may be found here: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/genetic.cfm

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