What is Genetic Information Harassment?
In Wisconsin, the law prohibits harassment in the workplace because of an individual’s genetic information. Genetic information harassment occurs when offensive comments or actions are frequently being made by someone in the workplace about another person’s genetic information. The harasser can be a supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not even an employee, such as a client or customer.
What is Genetic Information?
The law prevents employers from gathering genetic information about employees or their family members. Genetic information includes all of the following:
- Information about genetic tests
- Information about the genetic tests of family members
- Information about the diseases or disorders in the family (i.e. family medical history)
Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it could be used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease, disorder, or condition in the future.
- Information about genetic services and tests an individual has ever requested or received
- Information about clinical research, that includes genetic services, in which an individual or his or her family has participated
- Genetic information about an individual’s unborn child, or the unborn child of an individual’s family members
- Genetic information about an embryo legally held by an individual or his or her family member using assisted reproductive technology (ART)
What are Genetic Tests?
According to the EEOC, “tests used to determine whether an individual has a certain genetic variant associated with an increased risk of acquiring a disease in the future are genetic tests.” This means, genetic tests include those which analyze the following:
- Proteins or metabolites that detect genotypes, mutations or chromosomal changes
Genetic tests that analyze DNA, RNA, chromosomes, and proteins or metabolites are used to determine the presence of things such as:
- BRCA1 & BRCA2 Genes – Known as the “breast cancer genes”
- Huntington’s Disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Cholesterol tests, HIV tests, tests to determine the presence of drugs and alcohol, or tests for infectious diseases transmitted through food handling are examples of tests not covered by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
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