Applicants’ Rights Violated by Requirement to Fill Out Health History Form, EEOC Alleges in Suit

If you’re an employer, you’re playing with legal fire if you ask job applicants about their medical past–all the more so if you give them no choice but to reveal this information.

Yet another employer finds itself in the legal crosshairs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allegedly for making job applicants disclose information about their health history.

The alleged scofflaw is Grisham Farm Products, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo., which the EEOC says violated federal law by requiring all job applicants to fill out a three-page health history before they would be considered for a job.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Phillip Sullivan, a retired law enforcement officer who sought employment with Grisham Farm Products, 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.

The EEOC alleges that the use of the pre-employment form violated Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act because it requested information that could cause an applicant to identify himself or herself as a person with a disability. The suit further claims the form does not comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information, including medical histories, regarding applicants or their family members, except in limited circumstances allowed by statute.

“Job applicants cannot be required to provide employers with their medical history prior to receiving a job offer,” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Grisham Farm Products’ intrusive health history form is among the most egregious we have seen.”

Here’s today’s EEOC’s announcement of the lawsuit.

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