Mining Equipment Manufacturer Will Refrain From Requesting, Requiring or Purchasing Genetic Information
PITTSBURGH - Joy Underground Mining, LLC, trading as Joy Mining Machinery, will provide significant relief to settle a federal genetic information discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, after making conditional employment offers, Joy Mining required applicants to undergo a post-offer medical examination. EEOC charges that Joy Mining improperly requested family medical history on its pre-placement physical form asking applicants if they had a family medical history for "TB, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, [and] Heart Disease."
Such alleged conduct violates the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. GINA also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees, except in very narrow circumstances which do not apply in this case. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Joy Underground Mining, LLC, t/a Joy Mining Machinery, Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-01581-CRE) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides substantial equitable relief and prohibits Joy Mining Machinery from violating GINA and engaging in unlawful retaliation. Joy Mining Machinery will refrain from inquiring directly or indirectly about genetic information of an applicant, an applicant's family member, employee, or an employee's family member except as permitted by GINA. The company will also provide training on GINA to all management and human resources personnel with responsibilities related to hiring. The decree also provides for EEOC to monitor the company's compliance with decree provisions.
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "Requiring an applicant or employee to answer questions about his or her family medical history, even when part of an otherwise permissible employment-related medical exam, violates federal law."
Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office said, "We are pleased the Defendant cooperated with EEOC to reach an early resolution of this matter. This case illustrates the need for employers to review all employment-related procedures and forms after the passage of any new federal civil rights law regulating employment, such as GINA, to ensure prospective legal compliance."
EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. The legal staff of EEOC's Philadelphia District Office also prosecutes discrimination cases arising from Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.