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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Minneapolis to Resolve Disability and Genetic Information Discrimination Complaint

The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with the City of Minneapolis to resolve its lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and genetic information. The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that the Minneapolis Police Department failed to hire a veteran because of his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint also alleges that Minneapolis violated Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) by routinely requesting and obtaining genetic information from applicants for police officer positions during the pre-employment examination process. This is the Department’s first lawsuit challenging discrimination under Title II of GINA.

Based on its investigation, the Department concluded that the Minneapolis Police Department violated the ADA by refusing to hire a veteran because of his PTSD, even though he was qualified for the job and his condition did not interfere with his ability to work. After the applicant was rejected, he was hired as a police officer at another police department and was promoted to the SWAT team. The Department also determined that Minneapolis routinely obtained genetic information, including family medical history, from applicants for police officer positions. Title II of GINA prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information with respect to employees, applicants, or family members of employees or applicants.  

Under the three-year agreement, Minneapolis will pay $189,338.89 in back pay and other damages to the complainant. In addition, Minneapolis will implement policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that it does not discriminate in its hiring practices on the basis of disability, and does not request, require, or unlawfully obtain information in violation of the ADA or GINA. Minneapolis will also train Police Department employees who are involved in hiring-related personnel decisions, or who have access to applicants’ confidential medical information, on the ADA and GINA.

“Veterans who are qualified should not face discriminatory barriers to employment because they have post-traumatic stress disorder or other disabilities, and no applicant or employee should be asked to disclose genetic information unlawfully, including family medical history,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to protect veterans and other people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, and we commend the Minneapolis Police Department for committing to change its policies, train staff, and compensate the complainant.”

This matter was based on a referral from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Minneapolis Area Office.

To read the settlement agreement, please click here, and to read the complaint, please click here. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.

Press Release Number: 
18-1050
Updated August 14, 2018