Recent EEOC Settlement Highlights Medical Information Discrimination
When you think of discrimination in the workplace, your mind will usually turn to some of the familiar characteristics for employer misconduct. Discrimination on account of race, sex, religion, and disability is unfortunately common. However, anti-discrimination laws also cover many characteristics that are not raised as often. In a recent case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed the concept of discrimination on account of medical information, which is unlawful under these laws.
In the case, the EEOC found that Dollar General had engaged in illegal practices during the hiring process, specifically by requiring a pre-employment medical exam. The company settled, so the employees who were mistreated will receive compensation. The case highlights a point many people do not realize, which is that there are many different protected characteristics beyond the ones you hear about most often. You should discuss your situation with a Palm Beach County employment discrimination attorney if you have concerns, but some background is helpful.
Additional Details About the Case: The claims against Dollar General assert that the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) through employment practices. Specifically, Dollar General:
- Required job candidates to pass a medical exam prior to hiring;
- Forced applicants to disclose pre-existing, past, and current medical conditions for themselves and family members; and,
- Applied employment eligibility criteria that vetted qualified applicants with disabilities.
Dollar General agreed to settle the EEOC matter for $1 million, as well as promising to conduct an overhaul of employment practices that amount to discrimination based upon medical information.
Overview of Medical Information Discrimination: The Dollar General case is just one example of how employers may discriminate against employees or potential employees based upon their medical information. Companies often make suspicious claims that these practices are lawful because of safety considerations, but it is a violation when the mistreat workers who disclose a history of:
- Respiratory disease;
- Heart disease and heart attack;
- Mental illness and disorders;
- Pre-existing injuries, whether work-related or not; and,
- Any other medical information.
Remedies for Medical Information Discrimination: In the recent case involving Dollar General, employees sought monetary damages as compensation for their losses. They also requested equitable relief, by asking the court to order the company to make changes regarding violations of discrimination laws. As mentioned, the employees who were affected by Dollar General’s practices settled through the EEOC charge process.
Settlement is often a preferred remedy over going to litigation, since you gain certainty knowing the outcome is by agreement. However, you still have the option of filing a lawsuit in court if dissatisfied with the administrative process before the EEOC.
Speak to a Florida Employment Discrimination Lawyer Today
Now that you know more about medical information discrimination, you are in a better position to understand your rights. For additional details, please contact Sconzo Law Office in Palm Beach Gardens. You can reach our law firm by calling 561-279-6114 or visiting us online. We are happy to set up a free case review with an employment discrimination attorney who can explain how these cases work.