Home Care Firm Settles Genetic Information Suit for $125K

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By Kevin McGowan

Nov. 2 — A New York home care provider for seniors will pay $125,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit claiming the company violated federal anti-discrimination law by requesting genetic information from its employees and job applicants ( EEOC v. BNV Home Care Agency, Inc. , E.D.N.Y., No. 14-cv-5441, consent decree entered 10/31/16 ).

BNV Home Care Agency Inc. violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act by asking questions about family medical history on an employee health assessment form, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a 2014 complaint.

A federal district court in New York Oct. 31 approved a three-year consent decree that requires BNV to stop asking applicants and employees about family medical histories and to train its employees on federal anti-discrimination rules.

BNV will pay the settlement to a class of current employees who were asked the impermissible questions.

The EEOC has filed six GINA lawsuits since the act took effect in November 2009, according to agency statistics through fiscal 2015, the most recent year available.

The EEOC in fiscal 2015 received 257 discrimination charges alleging GINA violations, just 0.3 percent of all charges the agency received.

The law generally bars employers from asking about workers’ genetic information, which includes family medical history, except under limited circumstances spelled out in the statute.

An attorney representing BNV wasn’t immediately available for comment Nov. 2.

EEOC attorneys in New York and Newark, N.J., represented the agency. Samuel & Stein and Cole Schotz P.C. represented BNV.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin McGowan in Washington at kmcgowan@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

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