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EEOC issues regulations that implement genetic information discrimination law

On November 9, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final regulations to implement the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). According to the EEOC, “Congress enacted GINA with strong bipartisan support in 2008, in response to concerns that patients would decline to take advantage of the increasing availability of genetic testing out of concern that they could lose their jobs or health insurance if such tests revealed adverse information.” Under GINA, employers may not treat employees differently because of such things as genetic test results and family medical history. For instance, an employer cannot refuse to insure an employee because that employee has a family history of heart disease. In a press release, the EEOC stated that “[t]he final regulations provide examples of genetic tests; more fully explain GINA’s prohibition against requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information; provide model language employers can use when requesting medical information from employees to avoid acquiring genetic information; and describe how GINA applies to genetic information obtained via electronic media, including websites and social networking sites.”

If you believe that your employer has discriminated against you because of your genetic information, you should call an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your rights.