Although employers are generally prohibited from obtaining medical information about their employees, they are permitted to do so in certain circumstances, including when such information is necessary to evaluate a job applicant’s or employee’s request for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
When obtaining medical information as part of the ADA interactive process, however, employers must keep in mind the provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Specifically, GINA protects applicants and employees from discrimination on the basis of genetic information and prohibits covered employers from using genetic information when making decisions about employment. Accordingly, GINA generally restricts employers from requesting genetic information, unless one of six narrow exceptions applies.
Importantly, intent is not a required element for a GINA violation. That is, an employer can be found in violation of GINA if the employer obtains genetic information despite not requesting or having any