Workplace Discrimination based on Your Genetics

Learn about the different kinds of workplace discrimination that can happen based on your genetics, and how you are protected under Massachusetts law.

Workplace discrimination based on your genetic makeup is illegal under the Massachusetts Anti-discrimination laws.

The Law

The law prohibits that genetic information be used to a person’s disadvantage by insurance companies or employers.

Genetic information is defined as any written, recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test or explanation of such a result or family history pertaining to the presence, absence, variation, alteration, or modification of a human gene or genes.

Your Rights

The law prohibits disclosure of genetic test results without the individual's consent, any requirement of genetic test results as a condition of employment or insurance, and discrimination by insurance companies based on genetic test results.

You cannot be subjected to genetic testing by your employer. Information based on your genetic testing cannot be used against you in employment decisions.

Your Responsibilities

Employers are forbidden to use genetic information in making decisions relating to an employee or prospective employee.

Employers may not require or induce disclosure of genetic information or submission to testing.

It is unlawful to require, request, offer an inducement, or question a person about genetic testing.

Employers who require employees to undergo medical examination should confirm that the medical examination does not require the disclosure of genetic information. Employers should ensure that genetic information is not inadvertently provided to them, and that no employee's file includes genetic information of any kind.

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