State and federal laws exist which prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including cancers, California having one of the strongest laws in the nation. Further, federal law has recently expanded to include anti-discrimination laws based upon one’s genetic history with legislation known as GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush. It is the first act of federal legislation to protect individuals from discrimination. Though imperfect, it is a start to resolve issues with insurance companies and employees which create barriers toward testing.
The basic rule is unless one actually has contracted a cancer, discrimination is prohibited by all except for life insurance companies, disability insurance carriers, long termed insurance carriers and the United States military.
There is no protection for individuals who have contracted a cancer, under GINA, however ADA laws may apply for discrimination in the workplace.
If you have questions regarding discrimination or sustain difficulties with insurance companies and coverage, there is help through the Cancer Legal Resource Center in Los Angeles.
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The CLRC provides free and confidential information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to cancer survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, employers, and others coping with cancer.