After Congress passed the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act in 2008, the EEOC has released its final guidelines for complying with the law in the workplace. Under the new law, employers are forbidden from making any employment decisions based on information garnered form an employees genetic history or makeup.
Specifically, the new guidelines state that employers are prohibited from:
-Using genetic information in making employment decisions;
-Requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information;
-Harassing a person because of his or her genetic information;
-Firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise retaliating against an applicant or
employee for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding or otherwise opposing discrimination.
While the field of genetic testing is relatively new and in its infancy, genetic testing will likely become an important step in diagnosing and preventing certain conditions. For instance, a genetic test could reveal that a person has a certain condition that is likely to develop later on in life. This condition could potentially cause their employer lost time or money and the employee could be terminated before the condition became a problem.
Making sure that this information is safe and protected works to reinforce the rights of all Americans, and makes sure that no employee is unfairly treated as a result of what these tests may reveal. Read more on the Genetic Non-Discrimination Guidelines at the EEOC’s site on rules and compliance.