Newark, New Jersey - Tuesday the Justice Department filed an agreement with the Federal Court in New Jersey to resolve its lawsuit against the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
PATH operates a rail transit service between Manhattan and New Jersey. The department’s suit alleges that PATH subjected its workers to unnecessary medical exams and sought unnecessary information from those employees about their disabilities and other health conditions. As part of the settlement agreement, PATH will pay a total of $100,000 to certain employees who were harmed by PATH’s exams and inquiries.
“No employee should be subject to unnecessary medical exams and health inquiries by their employer,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This settlement reflects the Justice Department’s firm commitment to protecting workers from unlawful and probing inquiries into their health and disability status.”
“Workers deserve to be free from unlawful inquiries that could reveal a disability or family medical information,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig for the District of New Jersey. “This office remains committed to protecting the civil rights of employees by ensuring that employers comply with the requirements of federal law. We thank PATH for its cooperation with our investigation and its commitment to make changes necessary to protect the civil rights of its workers.”
The settlement agreement resolves a lawsuit that the department filed in federal court in New Jersey. Under the terms of the agreement, which must be approved by the court, PATH has agreed to stop unnecessary medical exams, as well as unnecessary questions about employees’ disabilities, health conditions and family medical history. In addition to the compensation to two employees, the settlement also requires PATH to train its staff on the ADA and GINA and to periodically submit reports about its compliance with the agreement.
The ADA bars employers from requiring medical exams or inquiries of on-the-job employees unless the information sought is vital to job performance or safety. GINA bars employers from asking employees to disclose genetic information, including questions about family medical history.
This case was handled by the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey after the matter was referred from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Newark Office. The department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.