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Hereditary Cancer Info > Privacy & Legal Issues > Complaints and Rights Violations

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Complaints and Rights Violations

There are laws that protect the rights of people with an inherited mutation or hereditary cancer.

If you suspect your rights have been violated

The following are resources for people who are concerned that their legal protections under any of the following laws have been violated. The Patient Advocate Foundation and the Cancer Legal Resource Center are nonprofit organizations that can help answer your questions and assist you if you need to take further action. 

Gentic discrimination and violations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

Anyone who feels that they have been subjected to discrimination by a health insurance company based on genetic information can contact their state Insurance Commissioner’s office. Some states also regulate life, long-term care, and disability insurer use of genetic information and allow complaints to be filed with the insurance commissioner against these insurers as well.

Victims of genetic discrimination in the workplace can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the organization responsible for enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, GINA, and other federal employment discrimination statutes. The EEOC may be able to help some, but not all, applicants and employees who believe they have been subjected to genetic discrimination. Individuals who believe that they have faced discrimination on this basis should contact their local EEOC office. Local EEOC offices can be identified by consulting the Commission’s website, the federal government listings in the telephone directory, or by calling a toll-free information number at (800) 669-4000 or (800) 669-6820 (TDD). Time frames control the filing of charges of employment discrimination. Private sector employees may have as little as 180 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act to initiate a claim. Federal government employees must contact an EEO counselor at their agency within 45 days of the act of alleged discrimination.
(Source: Communication with the EEOC).

Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

If you believe that your legal rights under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have been violated, you should contact these two resources:

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at CMS is the agency consumers can contact for help when they feel they have been inappropriately denied services or were inappropriately charged a co-pay or deductible counter to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They run a helpline at (887) 267-2323 ext. 6-1565, or can be reached by email at:

Your state's Insurance Commissioner's office is responsible for overseeing and assuring that insurance companies operating in your state are complying with the law. 

Breast reconstruction and violations under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA)

If you have questions regarding your WHCRA rights under an employer-sponsored group health plan, visit the website of the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. If you have concerns about your plan’s compliance with WHCRA, contact CCIIO's help line at 1-877-267-2323 extension 6-1565 or by email at:


If you believe that your health information privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR can investigate complaints against covered entities and their business associates.


Updated 05/25/2016

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