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EEOC settles with home care firm on family history questions

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a $125,000 settlement with a home care services firm for allegedly illegally asking applicants and employees for their family’s medical histories.

The EEOC on Tuesday said New York-based BNV Home Care Agency Inc., which provides companionship and home care services for seniors in New York, violated the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act by asking employees and applicants about their family medical histories on an employee health assessment form.

In addition to paying the $125,000 to a class of current employees who were asked to provide this information, under terms of the consent decree settling the suit, the health assessment form has been revised to eliminate questions relating to genetic information. The consent decree also requires BNV to conduct anti-discrimination training, the EEOC said.

“Forcing employees and applicants to provide genetic information to maintain or obtain their jobs is clearly against federal law, and EEOC will continue to combat this form of discrimination," the EEOC’s acting New York district director, Judy Keenan, said in a statement.

BNV’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.