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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) Case Settles for Over $100,000

In what it hails as the “first systemic case” under GINA, which was enacted in 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it settled a case against a nursing and rehabilitation center that allegedly illegally asked applicants for family medical history as part of a post-offer pre-employment medical examination.  See EEOC v. Founders Pavilion, Inc., No. 13-cv-6250 (W.D. N.Y.), settlement approved 1/9/14.  The settlement resulted in payment of $110,400 for a fund to distribute to 138 claimants.

The EEOC’s position is that employers are prohibited by GINA from requesting family medical history. 

While this is a settlement, not a court decision, and therefore has no precedential effect, we believe that it is significant.  Employers probably should eliminate from post-offer pre-employment medical examinations any questions about family medical history. 

As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied on as such.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

This update was prepared by Charles S. Elbert.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

EEOC Statistics Fiscal Year 2013

The EEOC recently issued its Fiscal Year 2013 statistics, which show that it received 93,727 charges of discrimination, which is a decrease from prior years, but still is one of the five highest years in terms of number of charges filed.  Once again, retaliation accounted for the most charges, followed by race, sex and disability discrimination charges.  Discharge, not surprisingly, is the most frequently alleged adverse action, followed by general terms and conditions of employment and harassment.  The EEOC claims that it collected a record $372,000,000 in monetary relief through its administrative enforcement procedures, including mediation and conciliation.  It also claims to have obtained $39,000,000 through its litigation program.  These statistics again illustrate the importance of continuing to diligently and carefully evaluate employment decisions to attempt to avoid retaliation and discrimination charges.

The EEOC also adopted and implemented its Strategic Enforcement Plan (“Plan”) to identify six priorities, which include eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers, addressing emerging and developing issues, enforcing equal pay laws and preventing harassment.

As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied on as such.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

This update was prepared by Charles S. Elbert.


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