Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Update

clip_image002The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), announced on that it is now enforcing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which was enacted in May 2008 and went into effect on November 21, 2009. The EEOC’s summary of GINA says:

Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on genetic information in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. GINA also restricts employers’ acquisition of genetic information and strictly limits disclosure of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about genetic tests of applicants, employees, or their family members; the manifestation of diseases or disorders in family members (family medical history); and requests for or receipt of genetic services by applicants, employees, or their family members.

The EEOC issued proposed regulations for the enforcement of GINA for public comment earlier this year. The regulations are now in the review process.


CCH Workday just published a helpful employer alert explaining GINA’s basics and an interesting summary of some of the comments submitted to the EEOC that highlight employer concerns about the implications of the law.

The New York Times published an editorial applauding the Act for “removing a significant obstacle to genetic testing, which can help prevent and treat serious illnesses.”

Employers should also take note that the EEOC has revised its employee rights poster to include GINA. Employers may print and post the GINA supplement, or print and post the revised version of the poster. Employers can also order the poster from the EEOC Clearinghouse, but the poster is on backorder so there may be a delay in shipment.

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