There are many different ways in which an employer can commit illegal discrimination in the conduct of its business. One of the more recently enacted statutory prohibitions was passed into law with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. That law bars employers from, among other things, making hiring, firing, promotion, pay, or privileges decisions based upon an employee’s genetic information. One case brought in federal court here in Georgia under this new law made national headlines back in 2015. Today, that 2015 ruling and the legal steps that followed it more recently serve as clear reminders of the multi-faceted aspects of discrimination litigation and the importance of having knowledgeable and diligent Georgia discrimination attorneys on your side.
The 2015 case arose from the problem a North Georgia warehouse employer was having with one of its employees defecating in one of its warehouses. The employer thought it had a solution: DNA testing. Two men who were tested but were excluded as suspects by the DNA results sued the employer. The cheek swab tests the men underwent violated GINA’s broad prohibition against employers’ requesting genetic information from their employees, the men argued.
The men were successful in holding the employer liable. The federal judge who heard their case issued a ruling awarding a summary judgment in favor of the employees on their GINA claim. The men initially received a combined award in excess of $2 million.