Wisconsin workers may be interested to learn that a federal court has ruled that a poultry feed company violated federal anti-discrimination laws by making job applicants disclose their personal health histories before they could be considered for employment. The consent judgment, which was entered into on June 8, settled a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a job applicant with disabilities.
According to the judgment, Grisham Farm Products Inc. acted in violation of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it required prospective employees to complete a three-page health history. The company’s actions violated the 2008 law by asking applicants to reveal whether they sought medical care within the past two years and whether their doctor had discussed or recommended follow-up diagnostic tests. Meanwhile, the company violated the ADA by asking applicants to reveal if they had any of 27 health conditions.
As part of the settlement, Grisham will pay $10,000 to the job applicant the EEOC represented. The company will also allow the EEOC to monitor its compliance over the next five years. A spokesperson for the EEOC said that employers should be aware that the agency will “vigorously challenge” discriminatory and illegal hiring practices designed to discourage certain people from seeking employment.
Disability discrimination, as this lawsuit shows, is unlawful during the interview process as well as in the workplace itself. People who feel that they have been the targets of such actions may want to meet with an attorney in order to see if there is any recourse available.
Source: Bloomberg BNA, “Health Questions for Job Applicants Violate ADA, GINA,” Kevin McGowan, June 6, 2016