Genetic Discrimination In The Workplace
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is federal legislation that prevents employers from using the genetic information of an employee, including information on specific medical conditions or traits, in connection with making workplace decisions. GINA is enforced by the EEOC. Texas state law has similar protections that are available.
“Genetic information” may involve information that is in your genetic tests. It also can include information on how diseases or disorders have manifested themselves within your family history. So your family medical history can be included because family medical history often is used to help determine whether or not an individual has an increased risk of developing a disease, disorder, or condition. Genetic information may include information about your unborn children or those of family members.
What Does GINA Protect Against?
Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you based on genetic information in any aspect of your employment, including hiring, termination, promotions job assignments, training, fringe benefits, layoffs, or any other employment terms and conditions. Employers are prohibited from using genetic information for making job decisions. That is because genetic information is not relevant to you being able to do the job. A genetic discrimination lawyer can help residents of Dallas bring a claim if any of those rules are violated by an employer.
Employers are also prohibited from segregating you from co-workers based on your genetic information or classify you adversely in any way based on your genetic information. Under GINA, genetic information cannot be used to make employment decisions. In addition to employers, it also covers other entities such as labor organizations, employment agencies, and apprenticeship programs. Harassment is a type of discrimination. It is illegal for your employer to harass you in any way based on your genetic information.
In general, genetic information should be kept confidential. If your employer asks for your genetic information, or to take a DNA test, or asks you questions about the medical history of your family you should call an employment attorney.
Harassment Under GINA
Employers can be held liable for harassment in the workplace that is based on genetic information. An employer can be held liable if the person doing the harassing is a coworker, manager, or even a customer or client, depending on how the harassment is responded to by the employer. Genetic harassment can include derogatory statements being made about someone apply for a job or an employee’s genetic information, whether it is a relative’s or the employee’s genetic information. One-off remarks are not considered to be actionable harassment. Rather, harassing statements or conduct must be so severe or pervasive that they create a hostile work environment. Or they might be actionable if it results in termination or another type of adverse employment decision.
Your employer is not allowed to terminate you making a complaint or filing a charge about genetic harassment or discrimination. Your employer cannot demote you, terminate you, or take any other type of adverse employment action for making a complaint of a violation to the Texas Civil Rights Commission, the EEOC, or HR. We strongly recommend that you contact a Dallas genetic discrimination lawyer before you make a complaint with the EEOC.
Talk to an Experienced Employment Attorney About Your Needs
When you are working you rely on your employer to value your work based on its merits and that you will not be treated any differently based on your genetic information. If you are the victim of genetic discrimination in the workplace in the Dallas area, Matt Scott is a genetic discrimination attorney who can help you. Complete the online form or call today.