U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky

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May 23, 2012

The District Court refused to enforce the EEOC’s administrative subpoena seeking genetic information under the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) holding: “While the Court recognizes that it is important for the EEOC to have the ability to investigate possible patterns of discriminatory action, this does not mean that every charge of discrimination justifies an investigation of the employer’s facility-wide employment practices. To conclude otherwise would eviscerate the relevance requirement and condone fishing expeditions, against which the Sixth Circuit has warned.”

NCLC files amicus brief addressing limitations on EEOC subpoena authority

January 23, 2012

NCLC urged the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky not to enforce an EEOC subpoena demanding that an employer provide information wholly irrelevant to the EEOC’s investigation at hand. In this case, an employee filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC used the ADA discrimination charge as a “springboard” to investigate possible employer violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and accordingly issued an absurdly broad subpoena demanding that the employer provide “all” information the company had regarding “all” employee medical examinations; “all” physicians who worked with the company; “all” medical questionnaires; and “all” information on terminations for a specific window of time. In its amicus brief, NCLC argues that the EEOC was abusing its subpoena authority to engage in a far-reaching “fishing expedition” completely unrelated to the charge of discrimination the EEOC was investigating. NCLC also argues that private physicians, who from time to time conduct employer initiated medical examinations, do not themselves qualify as “employers” under GINA.

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