According to the EEOC, GINA is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 that falls under Title II and is forbids any genetic information discrimination in employment. At times, employers have requested family medical history, extensive medical exams and other genetically related tests to help them decide which employees they would like to keep or terminate. However, GINA says this is illegal, unlawful and prohibited solely on the basis of ‘requesting’ any type of genetic information from applicants or employees.
So, is there an example of a time GINA stepped in on an employer who violated this law? Yes. There have been a growing number of employers across the nation who have violated this law and paid a high sticker price for it, too. There was a head turning case almost 2 months ago that occurred at a warehouse outside of Atlanta, GA. Someone was deliberately placing human feces around the warehouse. Funny? I guess you could say it’s pretty comically appalling, but this has become a very serious case, too. In order to zero in on the perpetrator, the employer had 2 of his employees, who were suspected to be the ones causing this unsanitary commotion, to have their mouths swabbed for a genetic analysis.
Now, these 2 employees were able to maintain their jobs, but still sued the company under GINA violation. It also turns out that neither one was responsible for the vile act. Either way, this warehouse could have taken different measures to find out who was behind it all instead of suspecting, requesting DNA testing, and also humiliating these 2 employees in the process. However, as life usually turns out, some of us learn the hard way despite all the laws, rules, regulations and principles set out to help us not to cross them.
We would also come to agree that if we were the individual in question or the applicant who was asked to provide personal medical history, of which even doctors do not publicly provide due to patient privacy rights, we would be flabbergasted for being either suspected of a deed we did not commit and/or for not being hired or even fired due to a genetic compound found in our DNA that may have raised a flag on the company’s end. Not only would GINA be violated, but also the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Hmm… something for all employers to think about.
Until Next Time, Be Audit-Secure!