What Is Genetic Information Discrimination And Harassment?

What is genetic information?

According to the EEOC, "genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual's family members."

Typically (with a few exceptions), it's illegal for employers and covered entities to request, require, or purchase genetic information. It also puts limits of the disclosure of an individual's genetic information. Employers and covered entities must keep genetic information confidential.

It is illegal, under Title II of GINA, to discriminate or harass because of an individual's genetic info in regards to any aspect of employment. This includes, hiring, firing, job assignments, pay, fringe benefits, promotions, layoffs, training, or any other condition of employment.

Why is it illegal? It's illegal for an employer to use genetic info to make any kind of employment decision because genetic info is in no way relevant to a person's ability or capacity to work.

Genetic info harassment is illegal if it is severe, creates a hostile work environment for an employee, or if it results in the victim facing an adverse employment decision. Additionally, it's illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for complaining or filing a charge of discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

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