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Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) takes effect November 21 for Employers

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), which went into effect for health plans earlier this year, becomes effective for employers on November 21.

Genetic Information, as defined under the law, is information about:

  • an individual’s genetic tests;
  • the genetic test of family members of the individual; and
  • the manifestation of a disease or disorder of the individual’s dependents, or 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree relatives.

Under this new law, employers:

  • may not collect genetic information, except inadvertently, to comply with the FMLA or similar state law, limited to health care professionals if genetic services are offered by the employer (i.e., health screenings as part of a wellness program), to purchase documents that are commercially or publicly available, or to undertake genetic monitoring of the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace.
  • must keep genetic information confidential.
  • may not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of genetic information.

The proposed regulation notes that covered entities will be required to post notices in conspicuous places describing GINA’s applicable provisions.

Who Must Post: Employment provisions in Title II of GINA will apply to the same covered entities as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 whether or not the employer conducts genetic testing.  (Click here for a copy of the new poster!)

Employers need to be aware of how this new law affects the workplace, especially in regards to recruiting, company sponsored Wellness programs and general “water cooler” conversation. Need additional information or assistance in complying with GINA? Contact our certified human resources professionals at (502) 753-0970.

Submitted by: Mitzi Fields Root, PHR; Senior Consultant with IntegrityHR, Inc.

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Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.