GINA is the acronym for the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. This important piece of legislation protects you from discrimination based on genetic information carried within your cells. Recently, a New York company agreed to pay $370,000 for violating GINA and the rights of employees and job applicants.

In a society where information is commerce, the right to privacy is eroding. Technology to identify faces, eyes, fingerprints and even how you walk are in development by law enforcement agencies and Homeland Security.

Medical science has pushed the definition and development of genetic typing technology to grapple with disease and aging. This genetic information can be used to unfairly discriminate or persecute individuals. In 2008, GINA was passed to prohibit that discrimination.

In January of this year, Founders Pavilion, Inc., a now-defunct nursing center settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) based on violations of GINA that include:

  • The company requested family medical history as part of its hiring process. GINA prohibits the request of genetic information or the use of that information in making offers of employment.
  • In violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Founders Pavilion fired two employees it believed to be disabled.
  • Although the EEOC attempted to reach agreement with Founders Pavilion prior to litigation, settlement was not possible. In the EEOC lawsuit that followed, it was revealed the company had also fired or refused to hire three pregnant women.

With advanced technologies come increased opportunities to exploit personal information or discriminate on the job. Talk to an experienced labor firm in New York if you believe you are suffering any type of harassment or discrimination in the workplace.