7-Eleven Pays $10K for Disclosing Former Employee’s Medical Data

7-Eleven of Hawaii will pay $10,000 and furnish other relief to settle an appeal and underlying federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced. EEOC had charged that 7-Eleven failed to keep a former employee’s medical information confidential by disclosing the information to a prospective employer, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and which caused the prospective employer to rescind a job offer.

EEOC filed its original lawsuit in September 2007 in U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii (EEOC v. 7-Eleven of Hawaii, Inc., Case No. CV 07-00478-SPK-BMK). After the District Court ruled in 7-Eleven’s favor, EEOC appealed the decision in August 2008 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Case No. 08-16903).

In addition to the monetary relief, 7-Eleven agreed to annual training of its human resources personnel and managers in equal employment opportunity, with an emphasis on the confidentiality provisions of the ADA. For a period of two years, 7-Eleven also will be required to report annually to EEOC regarding the company’s policies and proposed training programs with respect to disability discrimination, medical disclosure, non-retaliation, and reasonable accommodation for its Hawaii personnel. The agreement settles both the appeal and the underlying District Court suit.

“The EEOC brought this suit to prevent irreparable harm to employees and prospective employees whose medical information is unlawfully disclosed,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction. “Employees should not have to fear that they may lose their jobs as a result of employers illegally disclosing their medical information.”

Timothy Riera, local director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, added, “It's important that employers ensure that medical information is kept confidential. This applies to applicants, current employees, and former employees.”

According to company information, 7-Eleven of Hawaii Inc. employs almost 900 people on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The company operates 55 7-Eleven stores as a Hawaii corporation under the Seven & I Holding Co. Ltd. of Japan.

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