The case of the 'devious defecator' is a "landmark" for the US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Nature News says.
The case stems from the somewhat bizarre scenario of someone leaving human feces in a warehouse. The company, Atlas Logistics Group Retail, narrowed down the employees they thought could be leaving the feces behind to two and asked them for DNA samples to see if there was a match. While neither man did match, they sued Atlas under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and were awarded $2.25 million, the Washington Post reports.
GINA makes it illegal for employers to request genetic information from their employees and to use it in employment decisions, Nature News notes.
Atlas argued that the law did not apply in this case, as the company was not seeking information on its employees' health or medical background, but to find the so-called 'devious defecator.' The jury disagreed.
"This is an application of the law that no one thought of in a million years," John Conley from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Genomics Law Report tells Nature News. "But the ruling is not controversial. You can't use genetic testing for dismissal purposes."