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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Examples of Potential Discrimination Prohibited by GINA

Reference Number: MTAS-1247
Reviewed Date: 10/21/2022

Jane Doe, a senior accountant with Company X was fired after her employer learned she was the primary caregiver of a mother with Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease carries a 50 percent chance of developing the disease when one parent is gene positive. Because of her family history, Jane has a 50 percent chance of developing the disease. Shortly after she filed FMLA papers to care for her ill mother, Jane was terminated.

John Brow, a radiologist tech at Community Hospital was diagnosed with colon cancer and took leave from work to receive treatment and recover. When John returned to work, he was told he would have to undergo a medical examination. John was told that if he refused to submit to the examination he would be terminated. John later learned that his employer was administering genetic tests to employees without their consent to identify a possible genetic predisposition to cancers as a defense to workers’ compensation claims.

Sara Jones, a receptionist at a corporate headquarters for a sports company was undergoing genetic testing to see if she had a high risk of inheriting breast cancer, a disease which took her mother and aunt last year. Sara tested positive for a mutation in her genes showing she would likely inherit this form of cancer. Her employer then drastically increased her health insurance premiums in response to the genetic tests results.

Mitch Evans, a firefighter with the local fire department carries a gene for a rare syndrome that can cause sudden cardiac death. At open enrollment the following year Mitch switched group insurance companies. His new plan found out about the genetic syndrome and refused to cover him.

These are all examples of a covered entity acting in such a way that appears to be a violation of GINA.

GINA is enforced by several federal agencies. These agencies include: HHS, DOL, the Department of the Treasury (DOT), and EEOC. Corrective actions could potentially be taken, and financial penalties may apply for those who violate GINA.