GINA is not the name of my favorite aunt, but the acronym for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (42 USC 2000 et. seq.). GINA prevents the discrimination of individuals on the basis of their genetic information for providing health insurance (Title I) and employment (Title II). Title II will be effective as of November 21, 2009.
GINA will prevent “covered entities” (employers, labor unions, etc…) from discrimination against current and former employees, union members, apprentices and trainees based on their genetic information. GINA has prohibitions against intentionally acquiring information about your employees, union members, apprentices, and trainees. If a “covered entity” has genetic information about these individuals, then it must keep the information in the strictest of confidence.
“Genetic Information” is defined as follows: any information about an individual’s genetic tests, including requesting or receiving genetic services, the individual’s family members’ genetic tests or the manifestation of diseases or disorders among the individual’s family members. “Genetic tests” is defined as an analysis of human DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins, or metabolites that detects genotypes, mutations or chromosomal changes.
GINA authorizes the EEOC to enforce its prohibitions against discrimination, acquisition and dissemination of genetic information. Employees must file a charge with the EEOC to enforce their rights under GINA. Feel free to contact us to understand how to implement policies and practices that comply with GINA, or to assert your rights under GINA.