In your workplace, you should know that you cannot be discriminated against because of a medical condition. What about a medical conditions that could happen in the future, though? Discrimination is a potential issue that you could face if an employer obtains your genetic information.
Genetic discrimination is against the law and has been since 1995 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that discrimination based on your genetic information was prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A second act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), was signed in 2008 to protect all Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information.
What does GINA do specifically?
The act does two things. First, it prohibits health insurers from making decisions about policies based on the applicant’s genetic information. Most insurance companies may not ask anyone to undergo genetic testing, either.
The law also prevents employers from using your genetic information against you during any part of the employment process. GINA also prohibits your employer from asking you to take genetic tests.
There are exceptions. For example, those in the U.S. Military may be asked to provide their genetic information to the government. GINA also doesn’t apply to employers who have 15 employees or fewer, which is something to think about if you’re facing discrimination at a small company.
Your genetic information is medical information, and it should be kept private. Others should not be making decisions about you based on that information. If they do, then they could be in violation of GINA or other laws. If you believe you’ve been a victim of discrimination, you need to know your legal options.