Can employers lawfully consider an individual’s disability and/or genetic information during the hiring process? The short answer is not if the impairment or condition does not affect one’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
Dolgencorp, LLC, commonly known as Dollar General, was sued by the EEOC for allegedly violating federal law in its hiring practices. The EEOC’s complaint alleged violations of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during Dollar General’s initial hiring process.
The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment based on an individual’s genetic information. This prohibits employers from using an individual’s genetic information in hiring, compensation, promotion, firing, and any other terms and conditions of employment. GINA includes family medical history as part of an individual’s genetic information and protects against discrimination based on the genetic history of one’s family. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in these same employment areas based on an individual’s disability.
Following its investigation, the EEOC determined that Dollar General required initial medical screenings for job candidates prior to employment and required all applicants to pass pre-employment medical exams. These prospective employees were also asked to disclose the medical conditions of relatives. Dollar General even rescinded employment offers for individuals whose blood pressure tested above 160/100 or whose vision was 20/50 or less in one eye, even when such conditions did not prevent them from safely performing the job.
On Thursday, October 20th, 2023, Dollar General agreed to revise its hiring practices and pay $1 million to settle the case.
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