US genetic discrimination complaint

7 May 2010

A woman has filed a complaint with the US Equal Opportunity Commission and Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against her former employers, claiming genetic discrimination after losing her job following genetic testing. She was identified as a carrier of a mutation in the BRCA2 gene in 2004; her two sisters, who shared the same mutation, both had breast cancer. In 2009 the woman in question underwent preventative surgery to remove both breasts and reportedly told her employers MXenergy about the test and the surgery (see AP news).
Despite a good employment record over the previous three years, she claims that her MXenergy demoted her immediately following one absence for surgery, and made her redundant after the second. MXEnergy has not commented
This is the first publicised complaint involving genetic discrimination of this nature in the US. If the complaint is not resolved, the woman will be able to seek the right to sue her former employers under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which came into force in 2009 (see previous news).

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