You are protected by the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, also known as GINA. It is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you using your genetic information. As genetic testing becomes more common, the need for this information to be protected has arisen. It can nonetheless be scary to think that this information may be obtained and used by your employer to discriminate against you. If you think you are a victim of discrimination, it is important to consider your legal options. Our Atlanta Genetic Information Discrimination Attorney has decades of experience with employment law matters. Call Ben Barrett Law today.
What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing looks at changes in genes, chromosomes, or proteins. It can identify inherited changes in your genetic makeup. These can help predict the possibility of developing diseases and can be used in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and illnesses. Examples of genetic testing include newborn screenings and testing for Down syndrome.
How could genetic testing be used to discriminate against me?
Unfortunately, an employer could treat you differently because you have a gene mutation that causes a disease or increases your risk of developing an illness. It is common to fear this type of discrimination if you are considering genetic testing, or have already had genetic testing performed. If your employer is using this information when making hiring, compensation, training, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions, you might be a victim of genetic discrimination. GINA prohibits employees from these actions. For example, it would be illegal for an employer to fire you for a job he or she believes is too stressful after learning you have a medical history of high blood pressure.
What if I think my employer is discriminating against me using genetic testing?
It is illegal for an employer to engage in this type of discrimination. Employees are protected from this type of discrimination just like you are protected from discrimination based on age, gender, race, or color. Genetic information and your family medical history are not allowed to be used against you because it does not influence your current abilities to perform the job.
What is genetic information?
This is information about your genetic tests. It also includes information about the genetic test of a family member. It is biological information encoded in your DNA or RNA. Genetic information also includes the health history of your family members. While this information may not be directly obtained, it might be acquired by your employer unintentionally. Employers are not permitted to require or purchase genetic information about employees. For example, the employer may not require medical history during a job application process.
The laws regarding genetic discrimination can be confusing. It is important to have a lawyer help you determine eligibility to file a lawsuit. If you believe your employer has acquired your genetic information and used it to discriminate against you, call Ben Barrett today to explore your legal options.