June 14, 2024

Rare GINA Case Costs Employer $515K

In its 2023 charge statistics, the EEOC reported that Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) charges constituted less than one-half of one percent of all charges filed with the federal agency (.3%).

On June 14th, the EEOC settled one of these rare cases for $515,000. According to the lawsuit, the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and GINA when it inquired about employee disabilities and genetic information and pressured employees to use its pharmacy services. The employer unlawfully asked applicants about their hemophilia, their children’s hemophilia, and the medications they or their children took so it could recruit individuals who had hemophilia or had family members with hemophilia. The EEOC alleged to increase its profits, the employer would unlawfully pressure employees to use its pharmacy services for the expensive medications needed to treat hemophilia. Employees who refused were fired or laid off, while employees who used the employer’s pharmacy for hemophilia medications kept their jobs, even if they had worse performance reviews than employees who were let go.

While most of you reading this are not pharmacies, this serves as a reminder to employers in all industries.

  1. Do not ask applicants disability-related questions.
  2. Train your hiring managers what types of questions are likely to elicit a disability-related response and should be avoided.
  3. If you require any post-offer medical exam, ensure there is a firewall between you and medical review officer to ensure you do not inadvertently receive any genetic information.
  4. Talk to your company’s legal counsel about including the EEOC’s GINA safe harbor language on any forms you use to request medical information.