EEOC Sues Grisham Farm
Products for Requiring Medical Information from Job Applicants
'Health History' Form Violated Federal Law, Federal Agency Says
ST. LOUIS -- Grisham Farm Products, Inc. of Mountain Grove, Mo.,
violated federal law by requiring all job applicants to fill out a three-page
health history before they would be considered for a job, the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
EEOC also alleged Grisham Farm Products does not maintain or retain employment
records and applications for employment, as required by law.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Phillip Sullivan, a retired law
enforcement officer who sought employment with Grisham Farm Products, was told
by the company that if he did not fully complete and submit a three-page health
history form with his application, he would not be considered for any job.
Because the pre-employment form requested information that could
cause an applicant to identify himself or herself as a person with a
disability, its use violated Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), EEOC said. The suit further claimed the form does not comply with the
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits employers
from requesting or requiring genetic information, including medical histories,
regarding applicants or their family members, except in limited circumstances
allowed by statute.
EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
v. Grisham Farm Products, Inc., Civil Action No. 6:16-cv-3105) in U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, after
first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation
process. EEOC seeks monetary relief and an order requiring Grisham Farm
Products to implement policies and practices to prevent discrimination.
"Job applicants cannot be required to provide employers with
their medical history prior to receiving a job offer," said James R.
Neely, Jr., director of EEOC's St. Louis District Office. "Grisham Farm
Products' intrusive health history form is among the most egregious we have
Andrea G. Baran, EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, said,
"The ADA and GINA are intended to protect both employees and job
applicants from unlawful discrimination. When companies require applicants to
reveal their health history, it not only discourages some individuals, like Mr.
Sullivan, from applying, it also allows employers to consider illegal factors
in their employment decisions. As such, enforcement of these laws is critically
important to a discrimination-free workplace."
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring is one of six
national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting
employment discrimination. Further
information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.