Genetic Information Discrimination in the Workplace
As technology and science progresses, genetic information testing is becoming more and more common. Yet, many employees and job applicants are worried that if they go through with genetic testing, employers, CEOs, supervisors/managers, co-workers, and even non-employees will use this information as a way to discriminate. Federal and local genetic information discrimination laws
For over 25 years, our experienced genetic information discrimination attorneys have been helping victims like you receive the compensation they deserve. We have recovered over $165,000,000 for our clients and we are here to help you. We do not turn anyone away because they cannot pay, which is why we do not collect any money until we help you win your case. Contact us today for your free consultation.
Genetic testing has become a very useful diagnostic tool for people to be able to prepare for illnesses, catch the illnesses early, and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. As a result, people are using this tool to learn whether they should be worried about certain terminal illnesses, as well as traits they may pass along to their children. If used properly, it can help save lives and allow people to properly prepare for illnesses that may arise.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) was enacted to protect employees from employers, CEOs, supervisors or managers, co-workers, or non-employees who seek to use this genetic testing information to treat them unfairly or harass them. The law makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because their genetic information indicates they may have a disability or illness, or an increased risk of developing it based on their genetic makeup.
- An employer refusing to hire you because you are predisposed to cancer at a young age
- Your boss does not give you certain assignments because he feels your genetic testing revealed you have a higher risk of a terminal illness and he fears you will be missing too much work
- You are fired because your boss feels your genetic testing results may raise his insurance premiums
- Your co-worker learned of your genetic information and makes crude and offensive comments to you and about you, such as “oooh…is today the day your gonna catch cancer?”
The law is meant to protect you from being forced to choose between knowledge that can save your life and your right to work and stay employed. When your employer violates the law and forces you to dear for your livelihood because you wanted to protect your life, you may feel lost, with nowhere to turn.
Under the law, you have the right to bring your employer to court and make them pay for violating your rights. The courts may offer remedies, such as:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reviewing and revamping company policy
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Genetic information discrimination creates a fear in many people that leads to choosing a job over their own health concerns and needs. As most discriminatory practices, it is a form of intimidation that is never helpful to anyone involved.
You have the right to take care of yourself and answer your questions about your health without anyone needing to know at the office and without worrying about whether your job will be affected negatively. If you are ready to stand up for what is right, here are some steps to help you get started.
- Contact an experienced genetic information discrimination attorney immediately. The law can only carry you so far. You need someone with experience in dealing with these types of cases to guide you through the process and answer your questions as they come up.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job without consulting with your attorney first. Your attorney can explain how quitting your job may affect your case and help you make the right decision for you at that juncture.
- File a written complaint with HR. This serves two purposes. First, you are allowing your company to correct the problem. And second, if they do not correct the problem, the court will see you made the attempt to stay out of court and fix the problem amongst yourselves.
- Follow the company policy regarding genetic information discrimination. This will serve the same purpose as filing a complaint with HR.
- Gather as much evidence as you can. Keep track of all written communications, photos, and notes. Document every incident, including who is involved, when and where it occurred, what occurred, and who witnessed the incident.
- Do not waste time. The laws provide a limited time to file a lawsuit. Do not wait until it is too late.
You have the right to be proactive with your health and work in an environment free from genetic information discrimination. If your rights are violated, the experienced genetic information discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group. Contact us today at (800) 807-2209 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.