Home » Health » On Genetic Information Discrimination: My Interview Chat With Jeffrey Phillips in Arizona

 

While quite a number of people might be aware of racial, sex, age and disability discrimination, genetic information is not common. In fact, if you have never been a victim you might not be aware of its existence. Genetic information discrimination, in simple terms, is discrimination based on genetic information. In my bid to get the root of genetic discrimination as well as what it entails, I interviewed a couple of experts in the legal field. One of the key figures I questioned was Jeffrey Phillips. Jeffrey Phillips is the founder and attorney with Phillips and Associates Law Firms. Mr. Philips had obtained most of his legal experience as a criminal defense attorney, but his practice is now centered on assisting people injured/unfairly treated due to others’ negligence. I had a lengthy chat with Mr. Jeffrey, and it opened my eyes to a couple of facts about genetic information discrimination. I will not bore you with the detail of our chat, but point out the key details I extracted as outlined below:

According to Jeffrey, to understand genetic information discrimination, it is critical to know what genetic information entails. Basically, it is the information about an individual and their family’s genetic data. These are information that reveals the presence of disease and other disorders in the family. However, employers make use of this information to take unfavorable actions against job seekers or employees. Employers take harsh decisions based on the fact that these prospective employees might develop medical conditions in the future. Not only employers are guilty of genetic information discrimination, Health Insurance Company might deprive a woman of health coverage. This could be due to a DNA difference that increases her chance of, for example getting breast cancer.

Jeffrey stressed that Genetic information is an issue everyone is supposed to be concerned about. Every individual is composed of dozens of DNA differences. These differences either raise or decrease the odds of developing various diseases such as cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes to mention a few. What most people, however, fail to understand is that these differences do not always mean an individual will get the disease. They only suggest the possibility. This is similar to saying everyone who smokes will have cancer so you have to quit smoking but people who do not smoke do have cancer.

In a bid to protect the Americans against this illegal form of discrimination, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 federal Law was signed. Jeffrey affirmed that the law was needed to lessen concerns about discrimination. According to the law:

  • Employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on a candidate’s DNA information.
  • Employees cannot be fired, deprived of promotions and training, etc. based on their genetic information.
  • Should your DNA test reveal your likelihood of developing some disease, the law restricts your employer from using it to make their hiring decision.
  • Employers are not allowed to limit, classify or separate their employees based on genetic information that could deprive them of benefits/opportunities.
  • The GINA also makes it illegal for anyone to be harassed based on their genetic information. Thus, you are protected from derogatory and offensive remarks about your genetic information or family history.
  • It equally makes it illegal to retaliate or harass any applicant that files a discrimination complaint.

The DUI lawyer in Utah, however, revealed that while it is illegal for employers to demand/access genetic information, there are exceptions approved by the EEOC. Thus, according to the above, it is practically illegal to use anyone’s genetic information to deprive him/her of job opportunities.

Many people are not aware of genetic information discrimination. This might make them a victim of such discrimination. Jeffrey finally stressed that the knowledge of the above law will protect citizens from being unjustly deprived of basic rights. I have often wonder most of the client want Jeffrey Phillips from Phoenix and after my interview, I realized it was because of his passion for fighting all forms of discrimination.

 

 

 

 

 

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