Lowe v. Atlas Logistics
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
102 F. Supp. 3d 1360 (2015)
Atlas Logistics (defendant) operated warehouses that stored products sold at grocery stores. After an unknown Atlas employee began regularly defecating in one of Atlas’s warehouses, Atlas asked some of its employees to submit to a cheek-swab test to try and identify the culprit. The samples of the employees’ cheek cells were sent to a lab, where the employees’ DNA was analyzed to detect genotypes and mutations and then compared to DNA collected from the mystery feces. Atlas employees Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds (plaintiffs) provided cheek-cell samples that were not a DNA match to the fecal matter. Lowe and Reynolds sued Atlas in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. They brought their action under the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits employers from requesting, requiring, or purchasing “genetic information” with respect to their employees. Lowe and Reynolds asserted that Atlas violated GINA when it requested information from the lab regarding Lowe’s and Reynolds’s cheek-swab-DNA comparison. Atlas argued that “genetic information” for purposes of GINA relates only to an employee’s genetic propensity for disease, and therefore, the information Atlas requested from the lab was not covered by the statute. Both parties moved for summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Totenberg, J.)
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