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Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) Becomes Effective

On November 21, 2009 the federal Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) became effective. Under this new law, subject to a handful of exceptions, employers may not gather genetic information about their employees. Genetic information includes an employee’s family medical history. The law also forbids employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their genetic information. For instance, under GINA, an employer could not fire someone because he has a family history of mental illness.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that will enforce GINA. However, before contacting the EEOC with a complaint about a violation of GINA, you should consult with an attorney experienced in representing employees.