Two Things You Need to Know About Suing for Genetic Discrimination

24 January 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

With the rising popularity of genetic testing, it was only a matter of time before the issue of genetic discrimination popped up. Genetic discrimination is just like any other type of discrimination, except the offender treats people unfairly based on their DNA. While there are laws in place designed to protect individuals from this type of prejudice, they don't offer as much protection as you would expect. If you're in the process of pursuing legal justice of mistreatment you experienced because of your genes, here are two issues that will affect how your case turns out.

Protection is Limited to Insurance and Employment

As noted previously, the laws protecting people from genetic discrimination aren't as comprehensive as one would like. Unfortunately, at the current time, only insurance companies and employers are prohibited from denying people policies or jobs based on information revealed by genetic testing. This means offenders in other industries, such as housing and banking, are free to engage in this form of bigotry without legal repercussions. So, a bank could deny you a mortgage if genetic testing revealed you could develop a condition that may cause you to die before the loan was paid off.

That doesn't mean your case is completely lost before it begins. You may still be able to prevail if you can show the offender used your genetic information to engage in other types of prohibited discrimination. For instance, race and ethnicity are protected classes. If you can prove the offender used your genetic information to determine your race or ethnicity and discriminated against you based on that, then the court may side with you in the case and award you compensation for the damages you suffered.

It's essential you work with an attorney versed in these matters who can help you obtain the evidence needed to make your case.

Some Offenders Are Still Exempt

Unfortunately, not all offenders can be held responsible for their actions. Some are allowed to discriminate freely because they qualify for an exemption under the law. For instance, anti-discrimination laws generally don't apply to companies with 15 or fewer employees. GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) doesn't apply to the U.S. military or the Veterans Health Administration, among other entities.

It can be tough to get around these types of exemptions, and you may only be able to collect compensation for damages if the offender committed other misdeeds while discriminating against you. For instance, if a company committed fraud while also denying you service based on your genes, you could pursue legal action by suing over their fraudulent acts.

For more information about this issue or help with your personal injury case, contact a local attorney.