Protecting Genetic Privacy By Permitting Employer Access Only to Job-Related Employee Medical Information: Analysis of a Unique Minnesota Law
18 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 1999
It is not clear whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to genetic discrimination in employment. State legislation often does not apply to genetic information based on family health histories. Neither the ADA nor state laws prohibit employers from requiring access to genetic information contained in individuals' medical records.
A 1983 Minnesota law limits employer-mandated medical examinations and inquiries, including releases of information in the individual's personal medical files, to job-related information. We examined case filings with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and interviewed employment lawyers, human relations directors, and occupational physicians. Because few individuals were aware of the law, it was impossible to gauge its effects. Nevertheless, we believe that the Minnesota approach is preferable to either the ADA or genetic-specific state laws.
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