CWS 3.0: October 2, 2013

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Temp’s Medical Exam Leads to Lawsuit

A seed company that rejected a temporary worker for a full-time, traditional position was sued for genetic information discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Abatti Group allegedly required an illegal medical exam and improperly required the worker’s family medical history information, according to the EEOC.

A temporary worker applied for a permanent, full-time job at Abatti’s El Centro, Calif., location as a dispatcher in 2010, but was allegedly told that he would have to undergo a physical exam and a drug test, according to the EEOC. The worker continued as a temp pending the results.

The medical exam requested disability-related information as well as family medical history unrelated to the job, according to the EEOC. The applicant reluctantly disclosed he was hospitalized due to an issue with his heart, a condition shared by others in his family. The temporary worker was ultimately not hired.

“The law on genetic information and family medical history is a new frontier in employment discrimination law,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “It extends beyond the hiring stage, prohibiting inquiries at any time with only a few minor exceptions. Employers need to be cognizant of their legal requirements and be respectful of every applicant’s and employee’s right to privacy.”

The Abatti Group was sued along with its subsidiaries: All Star Seed, Green Touch Fertilizer and Eight Star Commodities.

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