Barrett & Farahany Wins $2.2M Verdict in GINA ‘Devious Defecator’ Case
Barrett & Farahany’s skilled Atlanta discrimination attorneys have just won a $2.225 million verdict in the groundbreaking devious defecator case that has captured national attention and headlines.
This verdict marks a resounding victory for workers’ rights, as it sets an important precedent for protecting workers’ genetic information and holding employers responsible for violating workers’ federally protected rights under GINA (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008).
Background on the Case
As court documents explain, this case involved an employer – Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services – testing the DNA of two of its warehouse workers. The DNA tests were reportedly part of the employer’s investigative efforts to identify a “devious defecator” who had been defecating in one of the company’s warehouses.
According to the provisions of GINA, however, it’s illegal “for an employer to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee.” This federal law was passed in 2008 in an effort to prevent employers from using employees’ genetic information to discriminate against them (by, for instance, not hiring them due to their predisposition to costly genetic diseases).
Astutely explaining why these protections are in place, Attorney Amanda Farahany noted during the course of this case that:
Requesting an employee’s genetic information is a violation of that employee’s civil rights. DNA is who you are — it’s your genetic makeup. It’s what makes you – you. And giving employers access to that genetic information gives employers and insurance companies information that could become the basis for discrimination in health insurance and the employment setting… In this case, Atlas knew that GINA was a law that protected employees. It knew that genetic discrimination was illegal.
Altas’ defense attempted to counter Farahany’s case for the plaintiffs by arguing that GINA had not been violated because the DNA test had been conducted to get to the bottom of some wrongdoing, rather than to screen the workers for medical conditions.
Ultimately, however, the Judge Amy Totenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia agreed that the DNA tests in this case DID constitute genetic information under GINA, issuing a judgement in favor of the plaintiffs on May 5, 2015.
Yesterday, the damages phase of this trial came to a successful resolution, with the jury awarding the plaintiffs in this case $2,225,000.
Because of this landmark ruling, employees across the nation now know that their genetic privacy is secure because their employers may not request their DNA. Congratulations to Amanda Farahany and workers throughout the U.S.
Atlanta Discrimination Attorneys at the Law Firm of Barrett & Farahany, LLP
Do you believe your employer has violated your rights? If so, you can turn to the experienced Atlanta discrimination attorneys at the Law Firm of Barrett & Farahany, LLP for aggressive legal advocacy and the highest quality legal services.
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