According to Law360, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that a Florida medical practice violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) by collecting COVID-19 test results from workers’ family members. Labor and employment partner Susan Kline addressed how businesses should reevaluate their pandemic safety measures.
Even businesses that have a handle on the law sometimes lose track of how broad its prohibitions are, said Kline. “It’s easy to forget about GINA and how very far-reaching it is in terms of family medical history.”
Kline added, “People think of genetic information as genetic testing information, but GINA includes any manifestation of a disease or disorder in a family member, and a family member is anything up to a fourth-degree relative.”
The publication also noted that the EEOC’s decision to publicize its conciliation agreement with the company is a signal the agency is eyeing this legal arena, and businesses need to keep GINA’s rules in mind when discussing a worker’s COVID-19 exposure. “It’s a very timely reminder to engage in careful communications,” Kline said.
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