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What Lawyers Need to Know about GINA Regulations

What Lawyers Need to Know about GINA Regulations

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Published by Arnstein & Lehr LLP
As previously reported, the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) was passed into law by President Bush in 2008 and became effective on November 21, 2009. On November 9, 2010, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published its final regulations that interpret and implement Title II of GINA. The final GINA regulations take effect on January 10, 2011. This article summarizes GINA and some of its significant regulations, as well as provides constructive guidance to employers in order to help them comply with GINA.

Brief Summary of GINA

GINA is designed to prevent the misuse of certain genetic information for employment purposes. Specifically, GINA prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of genetic information and family medical history. It further restricts employers from acquiring genetic information and family medical history about applicants, employees, and former employees, and requires that genetic information be maintained as a confidential medical record. The Act applies to private employers who have 15 or more employees.

Under GINA, “genetic information” includes, among other things, information about an individual’s genetic test and information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual or an individual’s family members (e.g., family medical history). Examples of a “genetic test” include breast cancer exams, colon cancer exams or other screening tests for diseases such as cystic fibrosis. A genetic test, however, does not include tests such as cholesterol tests, liver function tests or tests for the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The final GINA regulations also do not necessarily limit the definition of family medical history to only hereditary diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease. Therefore, as you can imagine, even friendly inquiries by coworkers into the heath of an employee or their relative have the potential to violate GINA.
As previously reported, the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) was passed into law by President Bush in 2008 and became effective on November 21, 2009. On November 9, 2010, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published its final regulations that interpret and implement Title II of GINA. The final GINA regulations take effect on January 10, 2011. This article summarizes GINA and some of its significant regulations, as well as provides constructive guidance to employers in order to help them comply with GINA.

Brief Summary of GINA

GINA is designed to prevent the misuse of certain genetic information for employment purposes. Specifically, GINA prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of genetic information and family medical history. It further restricts employers from acquiring genetic information and family medical history about applicants, employees, and former employees, and requires that genetic information be maintained as a confidential medical record. The Act applies to private employers who have 15 or more employees.

Under GINA, “genetic information” includes, among other things, information about an individual’s genetic test and information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual or an individual’s family members (e.g., family medical history). Examples of a “genetic test” include breast cancer exams, colon cancer exams or other screening tests for diseases such as cystic fibrosis. A genetic test, however, does not include tests such as cholesterol tests, liver function tests or tests for the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. The final GINA regulations also do not necessarily limit the definition of family medical history to only hereditary diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease. Therefore, as you can imagine, even friendly inquiries by coworkers into the heath of an employee or their relative have the potential to violate GINA.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Arnstein & Lehr LLP on Dec 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/10/2013

 
 
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Ibentks~kb~ Elu{i|i~ihb hd Akbk~il Ibdhsme~ihb
 ^gk AIBE ska{oe~ihb| ezzkes ~h ennsk|| eb kmzohyks’| ibentks~kb~ elu{i|i~ihb hd akbk~ilibdhsme~ihb ebn |zklidileooy |~e~k ~ge~ AIBE’| zshgici~ihb hb elu{isiba akbk~il ibdhsme~ihbnhk| bh~ ezzoy ~h ~gk ‟ibentks~kb~” elu{i|i~ihb hd |{lg ibdhsme~ihb hs ~h eb kmzohyks’|
 
 
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sku{k|~ dhs e demioy mkmcks’| mknileo gi|~hsy ib e oeqd{o DMOE lks~idile~ihb sku{k|~" ^gi||gh{on zshtink kmzohyks| qi~g |hmk lhmdhs~ ~ge~ sku{k|~iba mknileo ibdhsme~ihb z{s|{eb~~h ~gk DMOE/ Emksileb| qi~g Ni|ecioi~ik| El~ '‟ENE”) ebn h~gks dknkseo/ |~e~k hs ohleo oeq| qiooakbkseooy bh~ sk|{o~ ib e AIBE tihoe~ihb/ ktkb id ~gk sku{k|~ ni|loh|k| akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb"Ghqktks/ ib hsnks ~h u{eoidy dhs ~gi| ‟|edk geschs/” kmzohyks| |gh{on bh~idy kmzohykk| hd AIBE’| oimi~e~ihb| ib sku{k|~iba akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb" Eb kmzohyks leb |e~i|dy ~gi| bh~ilksku{iskmkb~ cy ib|ks~iba ~gk dhoohqiba oeba{eak ib eby qsi~~kb sku{k|~ dhs mknileoibdhsme~ihb6 ^gk Akbk~il Ibdhsme~ihb Bhbni|lsimibe~ihb El~ hd 3::7 'AIBE) zshgici~|kmzohyks| ebn h~gks kb~i~ik| lhtkskn cy AIBE ^i~ok II dshm sku{k|~iba hssku{isiba akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb hd eb ibnitin{eo hs demioy mkmcks hd ~gkibnitin{eo/ kwlkz~ e| |zklidileooy eoohqkn cy ~gi| oeq" ^h lhmzoy qi~g ~gi| oeq/qk esk e|`iba ~ge~ yh{ bh~ zshtink eby akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb qgkb sk|zhbniba~h ~gi| sku{k|~ dhs mknileo ibdhsme~ihb" ‟Akbk~il Ibdhsme~ihb” e| nkdibkn cyAIBE iblo{nk| eb ibnitin{eo’| demioy mknileo gi|~hsy/ ~gk sk|{o~| hd ebibnitin{eo’| hs demioy mkmcks’| akbk~il ~k|~|/ ~gk del~ ~ge~ eb ibnitin{eo hs ebibnitin{eo’| demioy mkmcks |h{ag~ hs sklkitkn akbk~il |kstilk|/ ebn akbk~ilibdhsme~ihb hd e dk~{| lessikn cy eb ibnitin{eo hs eb ibnitin{eo’| demioy mkmckshs eb kmcsyh oeqd{ooy gkon cy eb ibnitin{eo hs demioy mkmcks sklkitibae||i|~itk skzshn{l~itk |kstilk|"Ktkb qi~gh{~ ~gk echtk Bh~ilk/ ~gk sklkiz~ cy eb kmzohyks hd akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb mey |~ioo cklhb|inkskn ibentks~kb~ id ~gk kmzohyks’| sku{k|~ qe| bh~ ‟oi`koy ~h sk|{o~ ib e lhtkskn kb~i~yhc~eibiba akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb"” Dhs kwemzok/ eb kmzohyks’| sklkiz~ hd akbk~il ibdhsme~ihbqioo ck ibentks~kb~ id ~gk kmzohyks sklkitk| {b|hoili~kn akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ech{~ ~gk gkeo~ghd eb kmzohykk hs eb kmzohykk’| demioy mkmcks" E| qkoo/ e ~gisn zes~y’| htksoy cshensk|zhb|k ~h e besshqoy ~eiohskn sku{k|~ dhs mknileo ibdhsme~ihb mey ck lhb|inksknibentks~kb~"Lesk m{|~ lks~eiboy ck ~e`kb qgkb ibu{isiba ib~h ~gk mknileo lhbni~ihb hd eb kmzohykk hs ebkmzohykk’| demioy mkmcks" Dhs kwemzok/ ~gk kwlkz~ihb ezzoik| qgkb ~gk kmzohyks '~gsh{ageb kmzohykk) e|`| ibi~ieo gkeo~g u{k|~ihb| 'k"a"/ ‟Ghq esk yh{8” hs ‟Nin ~gky le~lg ~gk leblkskesoy8” hs ‟Ghq’| yh{s ne{ag~ks dkkoiba ~hney8”)" Ghqktks/ ~gi| kwlkz~ihb nhk| bh~ ezzoyqgkb ~gh|k u{k|~ihb| esk dhoohqkn {z cy zshciba u{k|~ihb| ech{~/ dhs kwemzok/ qgk~gksh~gks demioy mkmcks| getk ~gk lhbni~ihb hs qgk~gks ~gk kmzohykk ge| ckkb ~k|~kn dhs ~gklhbni~ihb/ ckle{|k ~gk kmzohyks |gh{on `bhq ~ge~ |{lg dhoohq-{z u{k|~ihb| esk oi`koy ~h oken~h ~gk elu{i|i~ihb hd akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb"
Lhbdinkb~ieoi~y Zshti|ihb| hd AIBE
 \imioes ~h ~gk ENE/ AIBE sku{isk| kmzohyks| ~h meib~eib sklhsn| lhb~eibiba akbk~ilibdhsme~ihb ib |kzese~k mknileo diok| ebn ~h ~ske~ ~gkm e| lhbdinkb~ieo mknileo sklhsn|" Ib ~gi|skaesn/ AIBE ska{oe~ihb| zshtink ~ge~ akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb zoelkn ib eb kmzohykk’| zks|hbbko
 
 
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diok zsihs ~h Bhtkmcks 35/ 3::9/ nhk| bh~ bkkn ~h ck skmhtkn dshm ~gk diok/ c{~ ~ge~ eby|{c|ku{kb~ akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb lhookl~kn m{|~ ck meib~eibkn ib |kzese~k mknileo diok|/m{lg oi`k qhs`ks|’ lhmzkb|e~ihb ebn h~gks kmzohykk mknileo diok| esk |kaskae~kn dshm ebkmzohykk’| zks|hbbko diok"
Zksmi||icok Ni|loh|{sk hd Akbk~il Ibdhsme~ihb
 Akbkseooy/ ~gk ni|loh|{sk hd akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ebn demioy mknileo gi|~hsy i| zshgici~kn{bnks AIBE" Ghqktks/ ~gk El~ ebn i~| ska{oe~ihb| oey h{~ e b{mcks hd kwlkz~ihb| ~h ~gi|akbkseo s{ok" Dhs kwemzok/ AIBE zksmi~| eb kmzohyks ~h ni|loh|k ~gk akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ~h~gk kmzohykk hs demioy mkmcks ~h qghm ~gk ibdhsme~ihb skoe~k| {zhb qsi~~kb sku{k|~"Kmzohyks| mey eo|h ni|loh|k zsh~kl~kn akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb id lhmzkookn cy lh{s~ hsnks"Ebh~gks kwlkz~ihb eoohq| eb kmzohyks ~h ni|loh|k akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb lhb|i|~kb~ qi~g ~gksku{iskmkb~| hd ~gk DMOE hs |imioes |~e~k hs ohleo oketk oeq|" ^gi| kwlkz~ihb qh{on ezzoy ib~gk lisl{m|~eblk qgksk eb DMOE oketk sku{k|~ bkkn| ~h ck lisl{oe~kn ~h h~gks| qi~gib ~gklhmzeby ib hsnks ~h zshlk|| ebn gebnok ~gk DMOE oketk zezksqhs`"
Gkeo~g Qkoobk|| Zshasem|
Meby lhmzebik| getk imzokmkb~kn gkeo~g qkoobk|| ebn h~gks zshasem| ib hsnks ~h `kkz~gkis kmzohykk| gkeo~gy ebn skn{lk gkeo~g ib|{seblk zskmi{m|" Ib ~gi| skaesn/ AIBE|zklidileooy eoohq| kmzohyks| ~h hc~eib akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ib lhbbkl~ihb qi~g kmzohyks-zshtinkn qkoobk|| zshasem|/ e| ohba e| ~gky esk tho{b~esy ebn eby ibnitin{eooy inkb~idiecokakbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ~ge~ ni|loh|k| ~gk inkb~i~y hd ~gk kmzohykk i| ellk||icok hboy ~h ~gkkmzohykk ebn ~gk gkeo~g lesk zshtinks ibthotkn ib ~gk zshasem" Enni~ihbeooy/ kmzohyks| meyzshtink dibeblieo iblkb~itk| dhs kmzohykk| ~h zes~ilize~k ib e qkoobk|| zshasem 'k"a"/ dioo h{~ egkeo~g si|` e||k||mkb~) e| ohba e| ~gk kmzohyks |zklidileooy inkb~idik| qgilg u{k|~ihb| sku{k|~zsh~kl~kn akbk~il ibdhsme~ihb ebn me`k lokes ~h ~gk kmzohykk ~ge~ ~gky esk bh~ sku{iskn ~hsk|zhbn ~h ~gh|k u{k|~ihb| ib hsnks ~h sklkitk ~gk dibeblieo iblkb~itk"
Zsel~ileo Entilk dhs Kmzohyks|
E| ~gi| es~ilok nk~eio|/ AIBE mey zshtk ~h ck hbk hd ~gk mh|~ |iabidileb~ oeq| deliba ibkmzohyks| ib ~gk ykes| ~h lhmk" I~ i| niddkskb~ dshm tis~{eooy eoo hd ~gk kwi|~iba kmzohymkb~oeq|/ |{lg e| ^i~ok TII/ ckle{|k i~ zsh~kl~| kmzohykk| ebn ezzoileb~| qgh/ ib meby le|k|/ getkbh skenioy inkb~idiecok |iab hd e zsh~kl~kn lgesel~ksi|~il/ |{lg e| selk/ eak ebn akbnks"\imioesoy/ {boi`k {bnks ~gk ENE qgksk lhtkskn kmzohykk| m{|~ ck u{eoidikn ebn getk emebidk|~kn ni|ecioi~y/ AIBE i| m{lg cshenks ib ~ge~ i~ zsh~kl~| kmzohykk| ebn ezzoileb~| qghgetk mebidk|~kn ebn(hs {bmebidk|~kn lhbni~ihb| ~ge~ mey bktks si|k ~h ~gk oktko hd ezsh~kl~kn ni|ecioi~y" ^gkskdhsk/ id bh~ nhbk |h eoskeny/ kmzohyks| |gh{on ~e`k |ktkseoimmknie~k |~kz| ib hsnks ~h zskzesk dhs ~gk imzokmkb~e~ihb hd ~gk bkq AIBE ska{oe~ihb| e|dhoohq|6

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