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When Vendors Break Laws

SMS Group, Inc., a Gary, Indiana facility, recently agreed to pay $62,000 to resolve a charge filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The complaint came as a result of the actions of one of SMS Group, Inc.’s vendors.  This third-party medical provider conducted medical and fitness-for-duty examinations for job candidates who received offers from the company but had not yet begun to work there.  One of the components of these examinations was the potential employees’ completion of occupational health questionnaires.

These questionnaires asked the potential employees to disclose their family medical histories, including listing parents’ and siblings’ history of cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Asking people to fill out these forms with such information violates the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).  The Act was designed to protect individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information, which includes disclosure of family medical history.

Along with the $62,000 payment, SMS Group, Inc. also pledged to make policy changes, post employee notices in the workplace, and provide management and staff with GINA training.