Reviewed Date: 04/07/2020
Interaction with State Laws
The federal law sets a minimum standard of protection that must be met. Some states may have additional laws granting them protection, and this federal law does not weaken the state laws.
The law makes it clear that a covered entity may not discriminate on the basis of genetic information regarding any aspect of employment. Additionally, the law forbids harassment based on a person’s genetic information or the person’s family genetic information. Similar to other types of harassment, the law does not prohibit light hearted teasing or off-hand comments, or isolated incidents that are not serious in nature. Harassment is illegal when it is so severe and pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when the harassment results in adverse employment decisions. A harasser may be a colleague, supervisor, client, customer, or vendor.
Covered entities must be careful about retaliation in the workplace. GINA makes it illegal to retaliate against any applicant or employee for filing a charge of discrimination or participating in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
A labor organization may not exclude or expel from membership, or otherwise discriminate against a person because of genetic information.