The EEOC has brought a class action under the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) against a nursing and rehabilitation center, alleging that the defendant-employer "requires a class of applicants and employees to provide genetic information in response to questions about family medical history" as part of its pre-employment, return-to-work and annual medical exams of its staff. EEOC v. Founders Pavilion, Inc., d/b/a Founders Pavilion (W.D.N.Y, filed on May 16, 2013).
GINA is a federal law that aims to eliminate the potential abuses relating to the use and disclosure of “genetic information.” GINA’s primary objective is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “genetic information” in employment and health insurance plans. The law restricts the use of, access to and disclosure of “genetic information” based on the idea that doing so will reduce discrimination. GINA’s definition of “genetic information” includes family medical history.
The EEOC noted in its press release concerning the case that "[o]ne of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) is for the agency to address emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, which includes genetic discrimination."
The Founders Pavilion Complaint is the second GINA Complaint filed by the EEOC. The first was filed on May 7, 2013 in the Northern District of Oklahoma against Fabricut, Inc., and also alleged that the employer violated GINA by requesting family medical history in a post-offer medical examination. The parties filed a Consent Decree simultaneous with the filing of the Complaint. Among other provisions, the Consent Decree, requires Fabricut to pay $50,000 to resolve the GINA and ADA allegations and to conduct anti-discrimination training of employees with hiring responsibilities.