Human Capital & Careers

EEOC Rules Against Carpal-Tunnel Test

The company was trying to determine that the employees were more genetically likely to develop carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Stephen TaubJuly 23, 2001

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad secretly conducted genetic testing on a number of employees who submitted claims of work-related carpal-tunnel syndrome.

The EEOC also said the company broke the Americans with Disabilities Act by treating employees with carpal-tunnel syndrome as disabled and then discriminating against them.

The commission sued the BN back in February in an effort to stop the company from conducting the genetic testing. However, even though the railroad agreed to stop the tests and the Commission agreed to drop the lawsuit, workers still claimed that the company was asked workers to undergo medical exams and give blood samples that were used for genetic testing.

The company was trying to determine that the employees were more genetically likely to develop carpal-tunnel syndrome. Therefore, the injuries weren’t work related. As a result, the company’s workers’ compensation insurance wouldn’t cover the claims.