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Discrimination Based on Genetic Information

Vermont employers are restricted by federal and state laws in their ability to collect and consider genetic tests and history when making employment decisions.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Under federal law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), employers are prohibited from making employment discrimination based on genetic information. Genetic information includes:

  • Information about an employee’s family medical history.
  • Information about an employee’s genetic test results.
  • Information about the genetic test results of an employee’s family member.
  • An employee’s receipt of or request for genetic services.
  • Genetic information about an employee’s unborn child.

GINA prohibits employers from using genetic information when they make employment decisions, such as hiring, promotion, benefits, compensation, and firing. For example, an employer would violate GINA if it fired an employee because heart disease runs in his family, believing that the employee would need time off from work when he too develops heart disease.

Vermont Law on use of Genetic Testing in Employment (18 V.S.A. § 9333)

Under Vermont law, employers may not require or even ask employees to undergo “genetic testing” as a condition of employment. Employers also may not discriminate against employees based on any genetic testing that the employee has chosen to undergo.

Under this law, “genetic testing” is defined as follows: “a test, examination, or analysis that is diagnostic or predictive of a particular heritable disease or disorder and is of: (i) a human chromosome or gene; (ii) human DNA or RNA; or (iii) a human genetically encoded protein. 

Civil remedies for violations of Vermont’s genetic testing law include injunctive relief, monetary damages including punitive damages, lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, costs, and attorney’s fees.

Contact Us if You Experience GINA Discrimination

The Vermont Employee Rights Group can help you achieve justice if you have been subjected to GINA discrimination. Call us at 833.365.2929 or fill out this online form for an initial consultation.

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