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Are you familiar with genetic information retaliation?

If you are unfamiliar with Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, you may not understand the finer details of genetic information discrimination as related to employment.

Under this law, it is illegal for a company to discriminate against an employee or applicant because of genetic information. An employer is prohibited from making any employment decision based on this type of information, regardless of what he or she finds.

This leads to one very important question: what is genetic information? This includes all information pertaining to a person’s genetic testing, as well as those associated with family members.

Family medical history is part of this as it is often considered when determining if a person has a higher risk of getting a particular disorder or disease down the line.

What is genetic information retaliation? This is when a person, either an employee or applicant, is retaliated against because of genetic information. GINA makes it illegal to harass, demote, fire or retaliate in any other way against a person for filing a discrimination claim.

Companies are also required to keep genetic information confidential, storing it in a file separate from other medical data.

Genetic information retaliation is not talked about as much as other forms, such as discrimination and retaliation related to religion, race and skin color. Even so, it can be a big problem if a company takes the wrong approach with an employee or applicant.

If a person feels he or she has been retaliated against for making a genetic information discrimination claim, he or she can take steps toward resolving the issue.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Genetic Information Discrimination,” accessed June 23, 2015

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