If you haven’t recently reviewed your job applications and other employment-related forms, you may be risking a lawsuit. Take special care to ensure your job applications and other hiring paperwork contain no inquiries about health histories that could violate the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. Even a few simple questions could land you in big trouble.
The EEOC is moving aggressively to eliminate such questions in an effort to open up employment opportunities for disabled and potentially disabled applicants.
Recent case: The EEOC investigated BNV Home Care, a provider of home health services to senior citizens in New York City. The company required new employees to complete a health inventory form including questions about family medical history, ostensibly to help employees determine steps they could take to improve or maintain their health.
The form asked applicants to indicate any illnesses their family members had experienced, including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, mental illness, epilepsy and cancer.
All applicants had to complete the form after they received a job offer, but before they were actually hired. Employees were required to complete the form on an annual basis after starting their jobs.
The EEOC sued and now the case has been settled. BNV Home Care will pay $125,000 and has already revised its forms to eliminate any questions about genetic information for both applicants and current employees.
Learn more about GINA compliance at www.theHRSpecialist.com/ginarule.