Preventing Employment Discrimination FAQ

If an employee reveals genetic information to a supervisor, do we have an obligation to keep it confidential?

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Answer:

If an employee reveals genetic information to a supervisor, do we have an obligation to keep it confidential?

Yes. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from requesting or requiring that employees or applicants provide genetic information. GINA recognizes that an employer might learn this type of information inadvertently (for example, if a manager overhears a private conversation or an employee chooses to confide in work colleagues). In this situation, the law has not been violated. However, the employer still has an obligation to keep that information confidential and may not use it in making employment decisions. For more information on GINA, see Nolo's article Genetic Information Discrimination: Avoiding It in the Workplace

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