Genetics & Genomics

Workplace Wellness Programs: Educating Patients and Families About Discrimination Via Disclosure of Genetic Information

Mary Beth Steck

genetics, genetic testing, genetic discrimination, workplace wellness program
CJON 2018, 22(5), 496-499. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.496-499

Oncology nurses are advocates for the ethical and legal use of patients’ genetic information. However, this information may be used to discriminate against individuals when they share it while participating in workplace wellness programs. Amendments to federal genetic discrimination laws may lead employees to being financially penalized for nondisclosure of their genetic information. This article stresses the importance of nurses being aware of these laws and pushing for policy revision to protect sensitive genetic information.


  • Oncology nurses, along with their patients and families, need to be informed about the provisions and limitations of federal genetic discrimination laws.
  • Oncology nurses must educate patients about how participation in their employers’ workplace wellness programs gives employers and third parties access to their genetic information.
  • Healthcare providers, particularly oncology nurses, should push for policy changes related to federal genetic discrimination laws (e.g., programs should be required to report their effectiveness to federal regulators, genetic information should be disclosed only to healthcare providers).
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