$370,000 Settlement in Genetic Information Discrimination Lawsuit Against Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
 

Founders Pavilion, Inc., a former Corning, N.Y. nursing and rehabilitation center, will pay $370,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC charged that Founders Pavilion requested family medical history as part of its post-offer, pre-employment medical exams of applicants. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), passed by Congress in 2008 and enforced by the EEOC, prevents employers from requesting genetic information or making employment decisions based on genetic information.

The EEOC also alleged that Founders Pavilion fired two employees because they were perceived to be disabled, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the suit, Founders Pavilion also refused to hire or fired three women because they were pregnant, in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of N.Y. (EEOC v. Founders Pavilion, Inc., 13-CV-01438), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

As part of a five-year consent decree resolving the suit, Founders Pavilion will provide a fund of $110,400 for distribution to the 138 individuals who were asked for their genetic information. Founders Pavilion will also pay $259,600 to the five individuals who the EEOC alleged were fired or denied hire in violation of the ADA or Title VII.

After the lawsuit was filed, Founders Pavilion sold its Corning, N.Y. nursing facility to Pavilion Operations, LLC d/b/a Corning Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare and ceased operating any business. If Founders Pavilion resumes conducting business, the consent decree requires Founders Pavilion to post notices and send a memo to employees regarding the lawsuit and consent decree. They will also adopt a new anti-discrimination policy that will be distributed to all employees, provide antidiscrimination training to all employees and provide periodic reports to the EEOC regarding any internal complaints of discrimination.

Pavilion Operations, the buyer of the Corning, N.Y. nursing facility, agreed as a non-party signatory to the consent decree. They will revise their antidiscrimination policies and will include specific references to genetic information discrimination, disability discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination laws and will include a complaint and investigation procedure for employee complaints of discrimination. Pavilion Operations will also provide antidiscrimination training to all of its employees.

Addressing emerging and developing issues in equal employment law, which includes genetic discrimination, is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

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