Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Connecticut Woman Files Genetic Discrimination Complaint against MXenergy

A 39-year-old Connecticut woman has just filed a genetic discrimination complaint against MXenergy, a natural gas and electric supplier, after allegedly being eased out of her job and then ultimately let go because of her genetic history.

According to Pamela Fink, she had a double mastectomy last year as a preventive measure against breast cancer.

She underwent surgery because she and her 2 sisters had a genetic test that showed that they carry the hereditary BRCA2 gene that makes them predisposed to breast cancer.

Her two sisters did get breast cancer but survived after a series of treatments.

After some biopsies and some scary false alarms, she decided to go under the knife.

Because of her good relationship with the company that has given her good reviews and merits of increases and promotions, she told her bosses about the genetic test and the surgery.

However, Fink said the company hired a consultant to do her job while she was recovering.

When she came back, she was asked to work under the consultant then was quickly eased out of her office and her duties.

Six weeks after she came back from her second injury, her job was already eliminated (only one in her department) and was escorted off the office.
MXenergy denied the allegations but made no further comment.

The charges are based under the new federal law, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or Gina, which just took effect last November 2009.

The law prohibits discrimination based on the employee’s genetic information.

It also prevents employers from making employment decisions based on gender discrimination because it does not tell the employer about the current working capabilities of the employee.

In addition, if employers are allowed to use these to either hire or fire an employee, it will discourage a lot of Americans from taking advantage of genetic tests, which could pinpoint the health hazards that they could be facing in the future.