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Common questions about genetic discrimination at work

With ever-advancing technology, it is now possible to know a great deal about your own genetic information. This can give insights into the likelihood of developing certain diseases in the future. While this information can be very helpful when it comes to planning your lifestyle and health care, such information may be interpreted differently by employers.

Employers may be persuaded by an employee's genetic information, if they have access to it when it comes to hiring and firing decisions. Because of this risk, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed in 2008.

What does GINA protect me from as an employee?

The GINA act means that employees are protected by law from genetic information discrimination. As a result, it is unlawful for employment decisions to be made about them if the employer is influenced by genetic information.

How do I know if I am protected under GINA?

If you work for a private company in the state of California and your company employs 15 people or more in the United States, then your company must abide by GINA.

What can I do if I believe I was discriminated against because of my genetic information?

If you were not hired, demoted or fired and you believe that your genetic information influenced the decision, you may be able to make a discrimination claim. In order to do this, you should be able to show that your employer had access to your genetic information in the first place. There must also be compelling evidence to suggest that this was a factor in the employment decision.

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