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Press Release 12-04-2015

EEOC Sues Joy Mining Machinery for Violating Genetic Non-Discrimination Act

Mining Equipment Manufacturer Unlawfully Asked Applicants About Family Medical History, Federal Agency Charges

PITTSBURGH - Joy Underground Mining, LLC, trading as Joy Mining Machinery, violated federal law when it required applicants to provide family medical history as part of the hiring process, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to EEOC's suit, 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. 

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "Federal law is clear -- it is unlawful for an employer to require an applicant or employee to answer questions about family medical history during an employment-related medical exam, such as a pre- or post-employment exam or a fitness-for-duty test. When employers violate those legal prohibitions - as well as the simple fairness of the matter - then EEOC will step in."

"GINA prohibits employers from making intrusive and illegal inquiries into an applicant's family medical history, which has no relevance to his or her ability to do the job," added EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. "EEOC enforces GINA's prohibitions against these practices, and it is a mission we pursue with great satisfaction."  

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 enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its website,