New Law Prohibits Genetic Discrimination

The newly enacted Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”) adds individual genetic information to the list of protected employee characteristics. Under the law, “genetic information” is defined to include information about an individual’s genetic tests, genetic tests of family members, and the “manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members.”

GINA generally applies to public employers; private employers with 15 or more employees; employment agencies and labor organizations; and makes it an unlawful employment practice to refuse to hire, discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee because of genetic information (GINA also prohibits health insurers from using genetic information to determine insurance eligibility or to increase insurance premiums).

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