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Wellness/Health Plans and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) and Genetic Information Privacy Act (BIPA)

We are investigating employee health plans and so-called wellness programs that use incentives to force employees to participate. Some of these programs provide financial or other incentives to penalize or incentivize workers. Examples might include a $50 payment if you talk to a health coach, get blood work done, meet with a nutritionist, etc. These plans, depending on how they are implemented, may violate:

  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”)
  • The Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act (“GIPA”)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Q. Is it legal for my job to make me participate in a wellness plan or health program?

A. If your job provides an incentive or a penalty (like a payment, discount, or deduction) to have you participate in a wellness plan/health program where you or your family have to disclose medical information, your employer may be violating the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or the Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act.

Some people do not want to share their private health conditions with their employers. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act and Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act go beyond protecting just genetic information. They also protect information about “diseases or disorders”.

If you were subjected to health testing at work through a wellness plan or health plan, and are concerned about your privacy rights, you can contact us.

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