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EEOC Sues Dollar General for Disability and Genetic Information Discrimination
September 28, 2017
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Retail Giant Rescinded Job Offers Based on Disabilities and Demanded Family Medical History During Post-Offer Medical Exams, Federal Agency Charges
Dolgencorp, LLC, dba Dollar General Stores, Inc., violated federal law when it rescinded job offers to applicants whose post-offer medical examinations revealed they had disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. These post-offer medical examinations also unlawfully solicited family medical history from such job applicants, a form of genetic information, the EEOC further charged.
According to the EEOC's suit, in June 2014, Vincent Jackson applied for a position at a Dollar General Distribution Center in Bessemer, Ala. Jackson received a job offer contingent on successfully completing the company's post-offer medical examination. When Jackson revealed during the examination that he suffered from monocular vision, medical personnel informed him that Dollar General required applicants have corrected 20/50 vision or better in both eyes. As a result, Jackson, despite having performed similar work in the past, was not allowed to work at Dollar General.
The company imposed additional medical standards that tended to screen out individuals with disabilities, according to the EEOC's suit. For example, the company screened out people whose blood pressure exceeded 160/100. The EEOC charges that this and other standards screened out applicants with a variety of conditions even when those impairments would not prevent the applicant from safely performing the job. During the medical examinations, applicants were also asked to provide detailed information about their family medical history, including answering questions about family incidences of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees and job applicants from discrimination because of their disabilities. It prohibits employers from using selection criteria or qualification standards that screen out individuals with disabilities, where the standards are not job-related or consistent with business necessity. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) protects employees or job applicants from discrimination based on genetic information. GINA includes a strict prohibition on soliciting a job applicant or employee's family medical history.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC., Case No. 2:17cv-0001649-JHE) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama after the EEOC's Birmingham District Office completed an investigation and first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
"Employers cannot use post-offer medical examinations to weed out individuals with disabilities," said EEOC District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. "The imposition of selection criteria not rooted in business necessity, but rather in stereotypes about what individuals with certain impairments can and cannot do, violates the ADA."
EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker added, "No applicant should be placed in the position of being forced to reveal personal family medical information to get a job. GINA prohibits that, and the EEOC enforces it."
According to company information, Dollar General is the nation's largest small-box discount retailer, with almost 10,000 retail stores in 38 states.
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
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