Human Resources News & Insights

GINA violation costs home care provider $125K

It’s official: The feds are serious about protecting employers from prying into their workers’ genetic backgrounds.  

BNV Home Care Agency, Inc. will pay $125,000 as well as cease requesting genetic information from applicants and employees to settle a genetic discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, BNV, a provider of companionship and home care services for seniors throughout New York City, engaged in the unlawful practice of collecting employees’ and applicants’ genetic information by asking them questions about their family medical history on an employee health assessment form.

EEOC alleged that the practice violated the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). The agency filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

The consent decree settling the suit, entered by Judge Jack B. Weinstein, states  that BNV will pay $125,000 to a class of current BNV employees who were asked the impermissible genetic information questions on the company’s previously utilized employee health assessment form. Also, the decree ensures that the revised form eliminates questions relating to genetic information, and requires BNV to conduct anti-discrimination training.

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