First Class Action GINA Lawsuit Filed

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) has just filed its first class action Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) lawsuit against a New York nursing home.

GINA is a recently enacted federal law that prohibits an employer from requesting, requiring or purchasing an individual’s genetic information or that of the individual’s family members. GINA was enacted in 2008, and became effective November 21, 2009.

If you have questions about the Act, or believe that your employer may have improperly requested or obtaining information concerning your genetic make-up, it is important to speak to dedicated Georgia genetic information nondiscrimination act attorney right away.

The purpose of GINA is to protect individuals’ employment rights by barring employers from using workers genetic information when making hiring, firing, placement or promotion decisions.

In the recent class action GINA lawsuit, EEOC v. Founders Pavilion Inc., the EEOC alleged that a nursing home violated the Act by asking prospective and current employees for family medical histories during both pre-employment medical exams as well as annual physicals.

Recently, an Oklahoma GINA lawsuit was settled involving a company that allegedly wrongfully denied a temporary worker a permanent job after it required her to fill out a questionnaire detailing her family’s medical history. The questionnaire specifically asked, “whether any family member had one or more separately listed “disorders,” including heart disease, hypertension, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, arthritis, and mental illness.” GINA was enacted specifically to prohibit these types of questions.

According to the class action complaint, the nursing home inappropriately asked about the family medical history of new hires, employees who were returning to work exams after leaves, and current workers required submitting to annual exams, creating a large group of employees discriminated against.

The class action GINA lawsuit also stated that the nursing home violated some of the provisions of other Federal labor laws, including the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (Title VII). The ADA prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment, and protects these individuals by requiring employers make “reasonable accommodations” that allow them to work. The GINA lawsuit alleges that the nursing home violated the ADA by firing two certified nursing assistants it regarded as disabled after they experienced back strain and by firing rather than reasonably accommodating another CNA who has a disability that requires her to take extra time to learn job tasks.

The Title VII discrimination claims arose out of the nursing home’s alleged actions in refusing to hire a job applicant because she was six months’ pregnant, withdrawing a job offer to a prospective employee after her pre-employment physical indicated she was pregnant, and firing another employer shortly after she gave birth.

If you have faced any form of employment discrimination it is important to speak to a private employment discrimination lawyer who can protect your rights and represent your interests.

For more information, contact the top Georgia employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.