Most employers should know this by now, but apparently, all don’t. The EEOC recently won a judgment from a Missouri federal district court that a farm in Missouri violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by requiring all job applicants to fill out a health history form before they were considered for a job.
The job applicant that prompted this suit was told by the company that if he did not fully complete and submit a three-page health history form with his application, he would not be considered for any job with Grisham Farm Products, Inc. The EEOC challenged this practice and when pre-litigation conciliation efforts with the company failed, it brought suit. The judge sided with the EEOC on all counts and found this practice violated the ADA and GINA and ordered the farm to pay the applicant $10,000 in damages. The court’s holding affirms that companies cannot require applicants to reveal their health history prior to receiving a job offer.
EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis stated, “Employers need to realize EEOC will vigorously challenge this discriminatory practice which both discourages some individuals, . . . , from applying, and allows employers to consider illegal factors in their employment decisions." The EEOC will be looking for instances to challenge practices such as this, so be on notice. The EEOC has included eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring as one of six national priorities in its Strategic Enforcement Plan.
If you'd like to know more about the do's and don'ts of hiring, schedule a consultation* with Adair M. Buckner, Attorney At Law.
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