EEOC Settles First Lawsuit Under Genetic Nondiscrimination Act

Employer liability for violating the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is no longer theoretical.

The EEOC has announced its first-ever GINA settlement. A large fabric distributor agreed to pay $50,000 and provide other relief to resolve alleged violations of GINA and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

What did the employer do wrong?

According to the EEOC, it erred when it asked an employee for her family medical history as part of its post-offer medical exam. The claimant was required to fill out a questionnaire that inquired whether she had any family history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other conditions.

“The EEOC will be vigilant”

“Employers need to be aware that GINA prohibits requesting family medical history,” said David Lopez, the EEOC’s General Counsel. “When illegal questions are required as part of the hiring process, the EEOC will be vigilant to ensure that no one be denied a job on a prohibited basis.”

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Indeed, addressing emerging issues such as GINA violations is one of the EEOC’s six priorities enumerated in its latest strategic enforcement plan.

Here’s a link to our latest Employment Law Tool Box, which includes a handy GINA cheat sheet plus much much more to help keep you on the right side of the law.

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at