Every workplace requires trust and transparency. Sharing personal information, like details about your genetics, may be uncomfortable for you. However, you should feel confident that your employer will not use this information against you.
Unfortunately, genetic discrimination is a growing concern as testing becomes more common. Advancements in genetic testing are generally good, but they could spell problems for you if your employer decides to mistreat you because of your results. This is why it is important that you understand the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
Requesting genetic information from you
GINA does not completely protect your privacy. Your employer can request your or your spouse’s genetic information if there is a wellness program in place. You may have to pay up to 60% on your plan, in addition to your premium, if you refuse to share this information. Your employer can also cover up to 30% of other team members’ insurance costs if they comply with the wellness program.
Using genetic information against you
You may think that because GINA allows your employer to penalize you for not sharing genetic information, it must be legal for your employer to use the information against you. This is not the case. GINA strictly prohibits any form of genetic discrimination in the workplace, whether it pertains to promotions, job assignments, hiring, firing or something else. In most cases, GINA also prohibits health insurers from changing your plan due to your genetic information.
Genetic discrimination can occur at any point during your employment. Knowing your rights under GINA can help you protect yourself from unfair treatment.