Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fear of DNA

Here is a crazy employee lawsuit that won a big award. The employer asked a couple of employees to take a DNA test solely to proved their innocence of some minor vandalism. No one was harmed. But Congress passed a stupid law on the subject, and it became a lawsuit. An ambulance-chasing-type lawyer brags:
Yesterday, in what U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg dubbed “the case of devious defecators,” jurors awarded $2.25 million dollars to Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds for the harm they suffered from having their DNA unlawfully obtained by their employers, Atlas Logistics Retail Services (Atlanta), LLC.

In this case of first impression, Judge Totenberg previously ruled that Atlas had unlawfully taken cheek swabs from the two employees under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000ff-1(b), which makes it “an unlawful employment practice for an employer to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee.” ...

The jury awarded Dennis Reynolds $225,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in compensatory damages to Jack Lowe. They also awarded a whopping $1,750,000 in punitive damages, to stop Atlas from requesting its employees’ DNA in the future, and to send a crystal clear message that they value the privacy of their DNA.
I never agreed with that law. People have a lot of irrational ideas about DNA.

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