Discriminated Against Based On Your Genetic Information? Contact a Genetic Discrimination Attorney Los Angeles
Genetic information discrimination has unfortunately become more common in the workplace when it comes to discrimination of individuals. This type of information includes family medical history, genetic testing, and so forth.
Genetic testing commonly gets sought out by individuals who believe they have a medical disorder or a higher risk of one due to their genetics. If you feel you’ve experienced discrimination because of your genetics, then you may have a case for an employment attorney in Los Angeles.
GINA, CALGINA, and FEHA
State and federal laws prohibit discrimination based on genetic testing. We provide vital highlights below to help you understand more about your rights.
- The federal law regarding this issue is called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or GINA, for short. It was introduced back in 2008 based on health insurance coverage and employment.
- In 2012, California enacted a separate law regarding discrimination based on genetic information. It is called the California Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or CALGINA for short.
- CALGINA helps to encompass more specific areas of discrimination regarding housing, education, public accommodations, and mortgage lending. It has worked to fill in the gaps that federal GINA doesn’t encompass.
- CALGINA is a direct amendment to FEHA, or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
- It helps protect the employment rights of protected workers against national origin, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, and race. With CALGINA, additional protection now includes genetic information.
Any Los Angeles genetic information discrimination lawyer can explain how GINA affects a person’s rights regarding genetic testing. It has become illegal for an employer to harass an individual based on information found in their results. Some examples of this harassment can include:
- Making derogatory or offensive remarks to an applicant or employee of a company
- Getting fired after an employer learns you are the primary caregiver of a disease or medical condition like Huntington’s disease. Those with the gene have a more substantial chance of developing it later in life.
- Denial of FMLA for an employee to tend to their medical condition after discovering they got diagnosed with cancer
- When you experience retaliation from an employer for not submitting your medical examination
- Employees who get passed over for a job opportunity for carrying a gene mutation that could lead to chronic health conditions or higher insurance premiums
Note: Be mindful of employers that administer genetic tests without consent to avoid paying for workers’ comp or health insurance benefits.
This law works to handle severe issues of harassment that have transformed a work environment into an offensive or hostile one. It usually occurs when a supervisor, co-worker, or client harasses an employee based on genetic testing results.
It does lack in covering isolated issues that are not extremely severe. For example, teases or unnecessary comments might not get covered under this law. An attorney can help you better determine what types of incidents are considered severe and which ones aren’t.
RETALIATION IS ILLEGAL
Those who have experienced violations of their GINA rights can take legal action against their offenders. GINA specifically states that employees who file lawsuits cannot face retaliation from an employer or upper management, including demotions, further harassment, wrongful termination, or any form of revenge from the company, employee, or clients.
FILING A SUIT
For those who have had their rights violated under GINA or CALGINA, a genetic discrimination attorney in LA can help bring a legal suit against the individual or company. There are two routes for bringing up a legal claim, and both come with statutes of limitation.
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing: Your lawyer can file a charge with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This agency enforces FEHA within the state. You must bring a claim to the department within one year of the alleged violation with crucial evidence. DFEH can be more lenient in some rarer cases if the employee just found out about the unlawful act after the expiration period. Sometimes they’ll extend the filing deadline by 90 or more days.
Employment Opportunities Commission: The second route your lawyer may take is to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). The organization will utilize GINA as the basis of the charge. You’ll have a period of 180 days after the violation occurred to file suit with the EEOC against the individual or entity.
The amount of compensation your Los Angeles genetic information discrimination lawyer can win in court will highly depend on your case. Some examples of recovered damages include compensation for:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney fees
- Back pay
All of these categories of damages are deliverable under both FEHA (CALGINA) and GINA. The amount that a judge can award you will be capped based on the number of employees at the firm.
For entities with 15 to 100 employees, you can get awarded up to $50,000 in each punitive and compensatory damages.
For firms with 101 to 200 employees, each gets capped at $100,000 in damages.
When it comes to businesses with 201 to 500 employees, your damages can be $200,000 each.
For entities with over 500 employees, your punitive and compensatory damages will get capped at $300,000 each.
It’s important to note that these caps only get applied to suits brought up under the law of GINA. For claims brought up under FEHA or CALGINA, there are no caps on either punitive or compensatory damages. It’s best to talk with your lawyer to determine which route of legal action is best suited to your scenario.
HIRE THE TRIAL LAWYERS OTHER ATTORNEYS CONSULT
The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every state and federal court system level in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more.
When your genetic information discrimination case is in our hands, we hope to minimize the stress and concerns you might be going through at work. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, our success is rooted in:
- 50+ years of trial experience
- Excellent advocacy skills
- Intense preparation and research
- Quality care
Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs.
READY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE?
Fear of discrimination is a prevalent concern for employees that might have had to undergo genetic testing. If your employer has treated you differently regarding genetic information, we will hold them accountable.
At Mann & Elias, we handle all aspects of employment discrimination. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs ABOUT GENETIC INFORMATION DISCRIMINATION
What is genetic information?
You can find genetic information on any medical exam you or a family member takes. It usually includes information about your family medical history, diseases, disorders, or conditions you might carry.
Is it genetic information discrimination if I get harassed because of my medical condition?
Not always – that might be more of a disability discrimination case. If you have questions, we always welcome prospective clients to schedule a free consultation with us.
What should I do if I experience genetic information discrimination at work?
Report it to HR or reach out to an employment attorney in LA immediately. When you retain the services of Mann & Elias, we can help you file a claim with the EEOC to pursue a lawsuit down the road.
For example, if an employer retaliates against an employee after discovering he is at high risk of developing breast cancer, they would be liable for violating sex discrimination and genetic information laws. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you for any aspect of your genetic information or protected category, such as gender or race.
Can employers use genetic information to make employment decisions?
No. It is illegal for any employer to use genetic information as the basis of a hiring or firing decision. You should not see any changes in pay, promotion, or get fired either.
Is it appropriate for my employer’s doctor to ask me if my family carries certain medical conditions?
Whether you’re doing a routine medical exam or one for work, upper management cannot ask you questions about your family medical history. Any request for genetic information during work-related exams is prohibited. If you feel pressured to provide them with test results, that would be considered as a form of harassment, and you can sue for damages if it has impacted your job or caused harm.
Is the company liable to make any accommodations because of genetic information?
No – the EEOC does not require employers to provide accommodations due to genetic information unless you have a medical condition that requires one or a temporary disability.