As science progresses, so do the laws and regulations regarding how personal information may be used and distributed. In terms of work and employment, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers from discriminating based on an employee or applicant’s genetic information.
WHAT IS GENETIC INFORMATION?
For many, the term ‘genetic information’ may be foreign. Technically speaking, it includes information about a person’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of a person’s family members. It refers to information regarding the sign of a condition or disease in an individual’s family history. Genetic information also includes an individual’s use or request of genetic services or care.
WHY IS GENETIC INFORMATION PROTECTED?
Genetic information is protected from discrimination because of the effect it could have on employee’s ability to be hired, fired, or promoted. Genetic information could point to the likelihood of an individual getting a disease and may lead to restrictions or decisions related to the future health of an employee.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF GENETIC INFORMATION
Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer or potential employer to disclose genetic information about employees or applicants to third parties. All genetic information must be held in a separate, confidential medical file in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your genetic information, don’t hesitate to contact Mann & Elias as soon as possible. Under Title II of GINA, you may be able to pursue legal action which could provide compensation for your hardships.
Many people are afraid to pursue legal action for fear of their employer’s reaction. Under GINA, it is illegal for an employer to demote, fire, harass, or ‘retaliate’ against an employee or applicant for investigating or filing a charge of genetic information discrimination.
THE LAW OFFICES OF MANN & ELIAS
Since 1998, Scott Mann and Imad Elias have partnered together to provide assistance to employees throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace regarding your genetic material, contact Mann & Elias. We are here to help.