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A fabric distributor agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming genetic discrimination against a former temporary worker, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit marked the first EEOC lawsuit ever filed alleging genetic discrimination.
Fabricut Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., sent Rhonda Jones to a contract medical examiner after making an offer of permanent employment on Aug. 9, 2011. Jones had worked in a temporary position as a memo clerk for 90 days prior.
The contract medical examiner, Knox Laboratories, required Jones to fill out a questionnaire and disclose numerous separately listed disorders in her family medical history, according to the EEOC. The questionnaire at Knox Laboratories asked about the existence of heart disease, hypertension, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, arthritis and “mental disorders” in her family.
Knox subjected Jones to a medical exam and claimed that further evaluation was needed to determine whether Jones suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the EEOC. Jones went to her personnel physician, who found that Jones did not have carpal tunnel. However, Fabricut rescinded its job offer based on information from Knox.
Jones made a written request for reconsideration, emphasizing that she does not have carpal tunnel. Fabricut ignored that request.
The EEOC says such conduct violates the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prohibits use of genetic information — such as family medical histories — to discriminate against employees or applicants.
In addition to paying $50,000, Fabricut agreed to take actions designed to prevent future discrimination.