Last updated: May 09, 2013
1995: Ban on Genetic Discrimination in Workplace
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extended workplace protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act to cover discrimination based on genetic information.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Its purpose is to provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. In 1995, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), issued a modification on the definition of "disability". It stated that the ADA would protect individuals subjected to discrimination on the "basis of genetic information relating to illness, disease or other disorders". As an example, the guidance stated that a person with a genetic test showing a predisposition for colon cancer would be protected under the ADA if, based on the predisposition, an employer regards the person as having a disability and discriminates against him or her because of that perception.
Rothenberg, K., Fuller, B., Rothstein, M., Duster, T., Ellis Kahn, M.J., Cunningham, R., Fine B. Genetic information and the workplace: legislative approaches and policy challenges. Science, 275:1755-7. 1997. [Full Text]