New York Employment Defense Attorney talks about Non Discrimination Act
Knowing what you can ask and must not ask employees or job applicants is vital for businesses. With all the information available on the internet today, gathering information may seem like the natural thing to do. However, there are lines you must not cross.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is a relatively recent ant-discrimination law. According to GINA, employers, employment agencies and labor organizations do not violate GINA when acquiring medical information about an employee’s disease or disorder that is not genetic information.
A recent settlement with the EEOC provides an example of what is considered a GINA violation. Joy Mining Machinery settled with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding a lawsuit where the company requested family medical history on its pre-placement form. The form asked employees whether they had a family medical history for “TB, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy and Heart Disease.” While these questions are routine for doctors, not only are employers prohibited from asking for such medical history, they are also not allowed to purchase genetic information about applicants or employees except under narrow exceptions.
The agreement Joy Mining entered into as part of the settlement included considerable equitable relief and prohibition from unlawful retaliation. The company agreed not to inquire about medical genetic information, to train its management and HR employees regarding GINA, and the EEOC will monitor compliance with the settlement provisions.
At Stephen Hans & Associates, our attorneys counsel company owners, their managers and HR personnel regarding GINA and other anti-discrimination laws. With legal issues, many gray areas exist, and getting questions answered so you follow good practices is important. Working with legal experts to take preventative measures helps you avoid the high costs of legal defense in lawsuits.