EEOC: Medical Releases Violated ADA, GINA

If you require your employees to answer medical questions not germane to keeping their job, or that touch on personal family medical history, expect the EEOC to charge you with violating federal employment discrimination laws.

In the EEOC’s latest effort to reign in these practices, it announced yesterday that it has sued Shoreview, Minn.-based Cummins Power Generation for allegedly requiring an employee to submit overbroad medical release forms to have a fitness for duty examination.

According to the lawsuit, the company required an employee to sign various medical release forms that sought irrelevant information, informing him  that he had to sign a release before taking a fitness-for-duty examination. When the employee objected to executing the releases presented to him, Cummins informed him that he had to sign a release or face termination. Cummins ultimately fired the employee for failing to sign the release, the EEOC said.

These inquiries were invasive and irrelevant, the EEOC said, because they touched on disability-related inquiries that were not job-related or consistent with business necessity (an ADA violation) and would have required disclosure of family medical history (a violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act). And to make matters worse, the company fired the employee in retaliation for his complaints about the releases, the EEOC charged.

Here’s more on the lawsuit.


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