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Pre-employment medical exams can be a mine field

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, known as GINA, went into effect in 2009. Recently, the EEOC announced that it has filed and settled one suit and filed a class action lawsuit in another case. In both situations, it is claimed the companies engaged in employment discrimination by conducting illegal pre-employment medical exams. Missouri readers may be interested in this topic as GINA effects all 50 states.

In the settled case, the employer made a job offer contingent on a satisfactory drug test and a physical. The problem occurred when information was requested detailing information about family members' medical histories, including such things as cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. Had the employers not asked for such information, the physical might have been legal. However, when the companies withdrew the job offer, the employer managed to violate The Americans with Disability Act because they believed the applicant suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome. According to the ADA, a company can't withdraw a job offer based on a disability that can be accommodated.

In the class action suit, the company in question was demanding both potential and current employees reveal family medical histories during pre-employment and annual employee exams. GINA makes it very clear that employers cant' discriminate against potential or current employees based on genetic diseases. Furthermore, employers can't purchase genetic information about potential or current employees, either.

If an individual feels that an employer has withdrawn an offer of employment based on a disability or the collection of genetic information, it may be wise to allow an employment attorney to review the case. It may be possible to have the job offer reinstated or for the employee to receive a settlement for damages if federal laws were violated.

Source: AOL job, "Pre-employment medical exams: a new, scary kind of discrimination", Donna Ballman, June 11, 2013

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