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Joy Mining Sued by EEOC for Violating GINA, Asking Applicants about Medical History

Joy Mining Sued by EEOC for Violating GINA, Asking Applicants about Medical History

Posted by Kathy Harrington-Sullivan | Dec 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Joy Underground Mining, LLC has recently been named as a defendant in a federal discrimination scales case filed by officials at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This case, EEOC v. Joy Underground Mining, LLC, No. 2:15-cv-01581-CRE, generally alleges that Joy Mining violated the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) in asking job applicants about their family medical histories during the hiring process.

According to the EEOC, this case was filed in U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania when pre-trial negotiations failed to come to a resolution.

Details of Joy Mining's Violations, According to the EEOC

As the EEOC explained in court documents, Joy Mining had required job applicants, who had been offered conditional employment, to undergo medical exams before the offer was finalized. During these exams, applicants were asked to provide their family medical history and, specifically, histories related to conditions like (but not necessarily exclusive to):

  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Epilepsy.

According to GINA, however, employers are prohibited from:

  • Discriminating against employees on the “basis of genetic information, including family history”
  • “Requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees” (except in very rare cases, which do not apply in the Joy Mining lawsuit, the EEOC has noted).

At this time, it is unclear how Joy Mining is fighting these allegations. They clearly, however, have put up a fight, given that this case is now proceeding to trial.

Commenting on this GINA case, EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. has stated:

Federal law is clear — it is unlawful for an employer to require an applicant or employee to answer questions about family medical history during an employment-related medical exam, such as a pre- or post-employment exam or a fitness-for-duty test. When employers violate those legal prohibitions – as well as the simple fairness of the matter – then EEOC will step in.

Such remarks were backed up by EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence, who noted that:

GINA prohibits employers from making intrusive and illegal inquiries into an applicant's family medical history, which has no relevance to his or her ability to do the job… EEOC enforces GINA's prohibitions against these practices, and it is a mission we pursue with great satisfaction.

Dedicated to fighting workplace discrimination, Barrett & Farahany, LLP, LLP has had a record of success in upholding workers' rights under GINA. Read more about one of more recent GINA victories in the ‘Devious Defecator' case here.

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About the Author

Kathy Harrington-Sullivan

Kathy Harrington Sullivan is a Partner at Barrett & Farahany and manages the firm's case evaluation team. Because knowledge truly is power, Kathy and the Atlanta employment attorneys on her team regularly consult with and empower potentia...

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