Genetic discrimination in the workplace can be a serious concern. Employees facing such challenges should be aware of their rights and the steps to address the issue.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prevents employers from discriminating against employees based on their genetic or family history. If you find or believe you are being discriminated against, take immediate action.
Understanding your rights
Genetic discrimination manifests in different ways. Employers may refuse benefit options or charge different rates for life or health insurance. Management or other employees may harass team members based on information provided by a DNA test or a blood test. If you suspect discrimination, gather and make a record of evidence of incidents.
However, not everything related to your body is covered by GINA. For example, mandatory vaccinations or COVID tests do not violate GINA. Nor does a mandatory wellness program, or sharing of someone’s diagnosis.
Reporting genetic discrimination
Once you have identified potential genetic discrimination, begin by taking action to address the situation. Report the situation to your employer’s human resources department or your supervisor. Outline the incidents, providing specific details. GINA prohibits retaliation for reporting harassment.
Knowing your rights
Familiarize yourself with the specifics of Title II of GINA. The law includes restrictions on acquiring genetic information, prohibition of harassment, and provisions to protect the confidentiality of genetic data. Knowledge of your rights under GINA empowers you to navigate the situation.
Encouraging open communication
In many cases, open, direct communication can help resolve workplace discrimination or harassment. Discuss your concerns with your employer. Make sure they understand the importance of a fair work environment. Your conversation should promote understanding and compliance with GINA regulations.
Genetic discrimination is unacceptable, and GINA stands as a shield against such unfair practices. By addressing the issue, you can help foster a workplace culture that values both inclusivity and compliance with anti-discrimination laws.