Workers in New York and throughout the country can file discrimination claims based on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will investigate claims based on Title II of that act. However, not many people understand that they can contact the EEOC about a genetic information discrimination concern. In 2018, it received only 220 such complaints, which was .3 percent of all claims that it received that year.
There are many ways in which employers discriminate against individuals based on their genetic information. For example, employers may try to use workplace wellness programs to collect data about a person's family history. They may also ask questions during fitness for duty proceedings that aren't relevant in determining if an employee is able to do a job.
Genetic information cannot be used when determining if a worker should be terminated, promoted, or given a pay raise. This is because it generally has nothing to do with whether or not a worker can do his or her job properly. However, if a company does obtain information about a person's medical history or the medical history of a relative, it must be kept confidential. Furthermore, individuals generally can't take legal action if an employer accidentally finds out about medical conditions that they may have.
Individuals who face discrimination in the workplace may want to work with their employers to resolve the issue. This could be done by having direct talks with representatives of the company. It could also be accomplished by having an attorney assist with private talks or by filing a lawsuit.