SMS Group Must Refrain from Requesting or Requiring Disclosure of Genetic Information
INDIANAPOLIS - SMS Group Inc., formerly known as SMS Technical Services, LLC and SMS Millcraft LLC, headquartered in Cranberry Township Pennsylvania has agreed to resolve a disability and genetic information non-discrimination charge filed by the Indianapolis District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
An EEOC investigation found reasonable cause to believe that the SMS Gary, Indiana, facility contracted with a third-party medical provider to conduct post offer medical and fitness for duty examinations. Job applicants and employees were asked to complete occupational health questionnaires that required the disclosure of family medical history including parents and siblings' history with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Such alleged conduct violates the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, including family medical history. GINA also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information about applicants or employees, except in very narrow circumstances which do not apply in this case.
The three-year conciliation agreement provides up to $62,000 in monetary relief to applicants and employees who were required to disclose their family medical history on the occupation health forms during the medical examinations. The conciliation agreement prohibits SMS Group from violating GINA and engaging in unlawful retaliation. SMS must refrain from inquiring directly or indirectly about genetic information of an applicant, an applicant's family member, employee, or an employee's family member except as permitted by GINA. In addition, SMS Group agreed to non-monetary relief in the form of policy changes. The company will provide training on GINA to management and human resources personnel and post employee notices. The conciliation agreement also provides for EEOC to monitor the company's compliance with reporting provisions.
Requiring an applicant or employee to answer questions about his or her family medical history, even when part of an otherwise permissible employment-related medical exam, violates federal law. Employers need to review all employment-related procedures and forms periodically to ensure legal compliance. We commend SMS Group for their willingness to resolve this matter in a comprehensive way," said EEOC Indianapolis District Director Michelle Eisele.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.