Is this lawsuit the first in a new — and possibly long — line of legal dominoes to fall? Employers will want to watch the outcome closely to find out.
The first lawsuit under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) has been filed.
After undergoing genetic testing, Pamela Fink, an employee of MXenergy Company, of Stamford, CT, discovered she carried a gene linked to a predisposition to breast cancer.
In addition, two of her sisters suffered from the disease.
As a precautionary measure, she elected to have a double mastectomy. And shortly after her employer found out about her test results and decision to have the double mastectomy, she was cited for poor performance, demoted and eventually fired.
No prior problems
Fink then sued, saying her termination was illegal because it was brought on by her medical condition — not her on-the-job performance.
Her reasoning: She claims that her bosses gave her glowing evaluations for years — until her test results were revealed.
What the law says
GINA, which went into effect last fall, bars discrimination against an employees based on the person’s genetic information and medical history.
“Genetic information” is defined under federal law as “information about an individual’s genetic tests, the genetic tests of that individual’s family members, and the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of the individual.”
MXenergy has denied the allegations. We’ll keep you posted as this case progresses.
Do you think this will open the floodgates for further GINA-related lawsuits? Share your opinions in the Comments Box below.