What is considered genetic information discrimination?

| Jun 18, 2015 | Uncategorized |

While California workers may be generally aware of what constitutes discrimination, they may be less familiar with genetic information discrimination. When an employer discriminates against a person based on their genetic information, that discrimination is prohibited by federal law and is actionable.

Genetic information discrimination occurs when an employer uses the information as a basis for any negative employment action. Covered employment activities include refusals to hire, firing or allowing them to enjoy any of the benefits of their employment based on their genetic information. It is similarly unlawful for employers to segregate or classify the employee in a manner which limits their employment opportunities.

Generally, employers may not require that their employees provide their genetic information as a condition of employment. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If DNA testing is done for law enforcement purposes, it is allowed. Another exception is when the employer is requesting the medical information as a part of its health and wellness program, and the employee has signed a voluntary authorization for the information to be collected. Even so, only the health care provider and the employee will have access to that information and it may not be shared with the employer.

There are many different types of workplace discrimination that occur, and employees who are the victims of it may not understand their rights. People who believe they have been the victim of such workplace discrimination may want to seek a consultation with an employment law attorney. An attorney might review the relevant facts in order to make a determination whether discrimination in fact occurred. In the event that it did, the attorney may then help file the necessary complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the EEOC sends a right to sue letter following their investigation, the choice might be made to proceed to litigation.


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