In Employment Law And Immigration

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Your genetics can’t be used against you in the workplace

In most positions, it’s illegal for your employer to use your genetics against you. This is thanks to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, also known as GINA, which provides Americans with protections against discrimination at work or with health insurance as a result of their genetics.

GINA is just one of the laws that has been passed to protect you against unfair treatment because of your genetics. GINA sets the requirements that:

  • Employers can’t require genetic testing
  • Employers may not ask you to get genetic testing
  • Employers may not discriminate against you based on disabilities or potential disabilities

This is important, because genetic test results may show that a person has an illness or disease, but it may not be clear when that will cause symptoms or if it ever will at all. It’s unfair to judge someone based on something they have no control over.

What is included in the category “genetic information?”

Genetic information includes all genetic tests and information that discusses disorders or diseases in the individual’s family. Genetic information doesn’t include medical testing for metabolites or proteins that might be found with some pathological conditions, diseases or disorders.

Are there any exceptions to who can ask about your genetic information?

Yes. The U.S. Military is one major exception. The military is allowed to use genetic information to determine employment (or enrollment).

What should you do if your employer retaliates against you or treats you differently because of your genetic information?

You are protected by law if your employer treats you differently or retaliates against you because of a genetic test. You are also protected against having to get a genetic test for your employer in most cases.

Discrimination in the workplace is not allowed at any time. Since your genetics are protected, any kind of discrimination based on your test results could lead to a lawsuit. It is your right to look into your legal options if an employer is treating you differently because of your results or fails to hire you because of the potential to develop an illness or disease based on genetic information.

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