Client Alert

The Employer Provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Are Now Effective

November 23, 2009

Maria A. Audero, Cameron W. Fox, Nicole M. Herter, and Stephen P. Sonnenberg

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA), enacted by Congress to allay growing public concern about the misuse of genetic information in employment, took effect on November 21, 2009. The employment provisions of GINA (which are contained in Title II), stem from Congresss determination that the limited federal and state laws addressing genetic discrimination in employment are an incomplete patchwork that warrant uniform, federal legislation.

Title II of GINA prohibits employers from engaging in three types of conduct: (i) discrimination on the basis of genetic information, (ii) the intentional gathering of genetic information about employees or applicants, and (iii) retaliation against employees who complain about a violation of any GINA provision. In addition, GINA creates new rules regarding the protection of genetic information to the extent it is obtained by employers. GINA covers employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor unions, and apprenticeship or training programs. It protects employees, job applicants, labor union members, and apprentices and trainees .

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