EEOC Settles First Genetic Discrimination Lawsuit

The first Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled this past week.

In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Fabricut), the EEOC alleged that Fabricut violated the Americans with Disability Act when it refused to hire an employee because it regarded her as having carpal tunnel syndrome and that it also violated GINA when it asked for the applicant’s family medical history in a post offer medical examination. The EEOC alleged that such conduct violated both the ADA and GINA, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees or applicants based on genetic information including family medical history and restricts employer’s ability to request such information. In addition to a $50,000 payment, Fabricut was also required to provide notice postings and other remedial measures as a part of the settlement.

Given that GINA has only been law since 2008, this case demonstrates the EEOC’s ability and, perhaps more importantly, willingness to pursue actions under GINA. Such aggressive litigation tactics further demonstrate businesses’ need to educate themselves on complying with GINA.

The EEOC press release regarding lawsuit provides additional explanation and insight on the case.  Should you have any questions about ensuring compliance with GINA, the ADA or any other federal/state statutes, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.