Genetic Discrimination in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Genetic discrimination is when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because the employee (or a family member) has a gene mutation that creates or increases the risk of an illness, disease or disorder. Employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should not fear that the results of genetic testing (which could save their life or the life of loved one) will cause bad work consequences. Genetic information does not mean the sex or age of the employee or family member.

Which Discrimination Laws Apply to Genetic Information Disclosure?

  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. (GINA)
    • Title I, prohibits genetic discrimination in health insurance. Insurance providers can’t use genetic information to make eligibility and coverage decisions.
    • Title II, prohibits genetic discrimination in employment. Employers can’t use genetic testing to make hiring, firing and workplace employment decisions.
    • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees
    • Doesn’t cover the US military and doesn’t cover life, long-term care or disability insurance.
  • American Disabilities Act – This federal law does not specifically hold that genetic test results are covered. An Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) ruling has interpreted the law to including discrimination because of genetic testing – but the ruling is not binding. This means the Courts will have to decide whether genetic testing is covered.

Which employers must comply with GINA? Not every employer has to comply with GINA. GINA employers are basically the same as the employers under the Civil RIghts Act of 1964-TItle VII. This means the federal government, state and local governments, educational institutions and private employers who employ 15 or more employees. The definition of employer also includes labor organizations and employment agencies.

Which actions are prohibited? Discrimination in

  • Hiring, firing or failing to promote
  • Compensation
  • Privileges of employment – such as insurance and retirement benefits
  • Conditions of employment
  • Limits, segregates or classifies employees in such a way as to deprive the employee of employment opportunities.

Damages – Damages are meant to make the claimant whole. If the claimant has been fired because of discrimination, he/she should be hired and get back pay. If claimants weren’t hired because of discrimination, he/she should be hired and get back pay. If the claimant got lost insurance or retirement benefits, the claimant should be paid the value of those benefits.

How Our Lawyers Can Help

  • Proving whether an employer’s actions were due to his actual or perceived knowledge of some genetic test.
  • Knowing what damages you can ask for and asking for them.
  • Knowing when, where and how to file your claim

Our Firm’s Experience
The attorneys of the Attorneys of Begelman & Orlow, P. C. have offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Contact our offices at 866-627-7052 or complete our online form. We have 115 years combined experience protecting your rights. We have experience in all phases of employment law including genetic discrimination, discrimination because of genetic test results and employment retaliation.

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