EEOC Limits Disability Inquiries, Genetic Testing

By Michael A. Verespej Clarifying once again the issue of whether employers can make disability-related inquiries, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently ruled that such inquiries are generally prohibited except where an employer has a reason to believe that a particular employee is having a performance problem due to a medical condition. In addition, the EEOC issued guidelines that legally affect only federal employers -- but which private employers would be prudent to follow -- regarding the collection and use of genetic testing results. In a nutshell, the EEOC said that genetic information should not be collected, disclosed or used in any manner by a federal employer. "That ... information never has an impact on an individual's ability to perform in their job," says EEOC Commissioner Paul Steven Miller.

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