Pennsylvania company settles claims of illegally requesting genetic information

By Marian Johns | Oct 22, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS — A Pennsylvania-based company has reached a settlement with the federal government over charges the company requested genetic information from job applicants and employees at its Indiana facility.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), SMS Group, Inc., formerly known as SMS Technical Services LLC and SMS Millcraft LLC, contracted with a third party medical provider for its medical and fitness duty examinations.  SMS applicants and employees were asked to disclose family medical history on health questionnaires such as parents and siblings with cancer, diabetes or heart disease in violation of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), the EEOC said.

"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," EEOC Indianapolis District director Michelle Eisele said in a statement. "Employers need to review all employment-related procedures and forms periodically to ensure legal compliance. We commend SMS Group for its willingness to resolve this  matter in a comprehensive way."

The settlement includes SMS providing up to $62,000 in monetary relief to applicants and employees required to disclose family medical history information on health forms or during examinations, according to the EEOC. SMS will also refrain from genetic information inquiries about an applicant's or employee's family members. The company will also provide GINA training and agreed to EEOC monitoring of its compliance reporting provisions, the commission said. 

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