Genetic Discrimination

Genetic discrimination can occur if an employer or health insurance company misuses your genetic information and treats you differently. Genetic discrimination is not common. There are laws to protect you from this kind of discrimination.

If you have a genetic test done, you need to know that, although uncommon, you could be at risk for genetic discrimination. Talk to a doctor or a genetic counselor if you are concerned about genetic discrimination.

In New York State, Article 26 of the Insurance Laws (ISC § 2615) and Article 79-l of the Civil Rights Laws (CVR § 79-l) address the need for written informed consent relating to genetic testing. These laws also address the confidentiality of genetic test results and prohibit the misuse of genetic information by health insurers. You can locate the full content of these laws at

In 1996 the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created which prevents employers from denying health insurance based on genetic information. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of 1995, also provide some protection. Additionally, in 2000, Executive Order 13145 was issued to prohibit agencies of the federal government from obtaining genetic information about their employees or job applicants and from using genetic information in hiring and promoting decisions.