R.I. Genetic Testing Ban

Rhode Island bans employers from requiring or administering genetic tests on prospective and current employees.

§ 28-6.7-1. Genetic testing prohibited

(a) No employer, employment agency, or licensing agency shall directly or indirectly:

(1) Request, require or administer a genetic test to any employee, licensee, or applicant for employment or licensure;

(2) Affect the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment or licensure or terminate the employment or licensure of any person who obtains a genetic test;

(3) Deny employment or deny an application for an occupational license, or suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew an occupational license; or take any other action affecting the terms, conditions or privileges of employment against an employee or a license holder based directly or indirectly on the refusal of the employee, licensee or applicant for employment or licensure to:

(i) Submit to a genetic test;

(ii) Submit a family health history; or

(iii) Reveal:

(A) whether the employee, applicant or holder has submitted to a genetic test; or

(B) the results of any genetic test to which the employee, applicant or holder has submitted;

(4) Otherwise use genetic information to adversely affect the employment, licensure, or application for employment or licensure of any individual; or

(5) Reveal genetic information about employees, licensees, or applicants.

(b) No person may sell to or interpret for an employer, employment agency, or licensing agency a genetic test of a current or prospective employee or licensee.

§ 28-6.7-2.1. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) “Employer” includes the state and all political subdivisions of the state, and any person in this state employing individuals, and any person acting in the interest of an employer directly or indirectly.

(2) “Employment agency” includes any person undertaking with or without compensation to procure opportunities to work, or to procure, recruit, refer, or place employees.

(3) “Genetic information” means information about genes, gene product, or inherited characteristics that may derive from the individual or a family member and includes information concerning whether or not the individual or family member has sought or obtained a genetic test.

(4) (i) “Genetic testing” means the analysis of an individual’s DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins and certain metabolites in order to detect heritable disease-related genotypes, mutations, phenotypes or karyotypes for clinical purposes. These purposes include:

(A) Predicting risk of disease;

(B) Identifying carriers;

(C) Establishing prenatal and clinical diagnosis or prognosis;

(D) Prenatal newborn and carrier screening; and

(E) Testing in high-risk families.

(ii) Tests for metabolites are covered only when they are undertaken with high probability that an access of deficiency of the metabolite indicates the presence of heritable mutations in single genes.

(iii) “Genetic testing” does not mean routine physical measurement, a routine chemical, blood, or urine analysis or a test for drugs or for infections however, any genetic information, as defined in this section, revealed by such routine tests or examinations is subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(5) “Licensing agency” means a state agency or political subdivision that issues an occupational license.

(6) “Occupational license” means a license, certificate, registration, permit, or other form of authorization required by law or rule that must be obtained by an individual to engage in a particular business or occupation.

(7) “Person” includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers.

(8) “Political subdivision” means a municipality, county, or special district or authority. The term includes a school district.

(9) “State agency” means a department, board, bureau, commission, committee, division, office, council, or agency of state government.

§ 28-6.7-3. Penalties for violations

In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

(1) Award to a prevailing applicant or employee punitive damages in addition to any award of actual damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs; and

(2) Afford injunctive relief against any employer who commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter.