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Genetic discrimination is illegal

Businesses in Los Angeles that require prospective employees to undergo physicals may be violating federal law if they are not handled correctly. While people are aware of the illegality of gender or race discrimination, not everyone is aware that companies cannot refuse to hire someone based on a medical condition or the belief that a candidate is at risk for developing one due to a family history. Employers can require job applicants to complete a physical and a drug test as a condition of employment, but businesses are limited as to what information they can gather.

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act took effect in 2009, and the goal of the law is to prevent businesses from discriminating against employees for having diseases or a family history of a certain disease. This means that employers are not allowed to request or purchase genetic information about potential employees, including when a prospective candidate goes in for a pre-employment physical. Employers should be sure to let doctors who are giving these physicals know to not ask about family conditions to prevent the employer from being viewed as breaking the law.

Employers are also not allowed to rescind a job offer because they a candidate has a medical condition unless it prevents the individual from doing the job they are applying for. Additionally, employers must show that the job cannot be done by the applicant even with reasonable accommodations.

If someone has been denied a job due to their age, gender or a disability, they may have legal recourse. A lawyer could explain their options, help them file a complaint against the employer and argue their case in court if needed.

Source: AOL Jobs, "Pre-Employment Medical Exams: A New, Scary Kind Of Discrimination", Donna Ballman, June 11, 2013

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