July 11, 2022
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Medical Practice Agrees Not to Collect COVID Testing Results From Employees’ Family Members
Tampa Bay, Florida – Brandon Dermatology, a Tampa Bay-based medical practice, will compensate affected employees and furnish other relief to resolve a Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) finding made by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
Following an investigation, EEOC and Brandon Dermatology entered into a conciliation agreement whereby Brandon Dermatology agreed to cease collecting employees’ family members’ COVID-19 testing results. Such conduct violates the GINA, which prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees and their family members, except in very narrow circumstances which do not apply in this matter. GINA defines “genetic information” to include the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an employee’s family members.
In addition to compensating affected employees through restoration of leave time or back pay, as well as compensatory damages, the conciliation agreement resolving the charge requires Brandon Dermatology to review its COVID-19 policies; conduct training on EEO laws as they pertain to COVID-19; and post a notice.
“We appreciate Brandon Dermatology’s willingness to proactively tackle this issue once it was brought to its attention,” said Chelsae J. Ford, systemic coordinator for the EEOC’s Miami District. “Although GINA charges comprise a small portion of the EEOC’s charge receipts each year, employers nonetheless need to be aware of the law’s prohibition on collecting genetic information.”
The EEOC’s Tampa Field Office director, Evangeline Hawthorne, added, “This resolution illustrates the need for employers to review their COVID-19 policies and practices in conjunction with the EEOC’s technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they are in compliance with federal EEO laws.”
The EEOC’s technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws.
For more information on discrimination based on genetic information, please visit eeoc.gov/genetic-information-discrimination.
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