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Know GINA rules on liability, EEOC prerequisites

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Good news for employers and supervisors worried about whether the Genetic Information Non­dis­­crimi­­na­tion Act (GINA) expands individual liability and allows employees direct access to court. The answer is no.

GINA prohibits many uses of an em­­ployee’s genetic information in a workplace context.

Employees must file an EEOC complaint before going to court. They can’t sue a supervisor personally for any alleged violations.

Recent case: James sued his em­­ployer and several individuals directly. He said he suffered a nervous breakdown after he was retaliated against for reporting alleged discrimination. He included GINA claims without speci­­fy­­­­ing why he believed his genetic information had any bearing on his situation.

The court quickly dismissed James’ lawsuit.

It noted two things. First, GINA requires an EEOC filing before going to court. Second, GINA doesn’t authorize personal liability for supervisors. (Wright v. Stonemore, No. 3:12-CV-380, WD NC, 2012)

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