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Tuesday
Jan062009

New Genetic Information Discrimination Law

You probably are familiar with equal employment opportunity notices listing protected classes of workers. These are the “. . .race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status and age” protections.

As of November 1, 2008, if you have 15 or more employees, you need to add genetic information to that list. On May 21, 2008, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). This law prohibits discriminating against an employee because of genetic tests and diseases or disorders in an employee’s family. It also prohibits employers from requesting, requiring or purchasing an employee’s genetic information.

If you list the federal basis upon which you will not discriminate, you should add genetic information to that list. We will soon be announcing employee handbook revisions and revised employment forms. We will make appropriate changes to these employer tools for you.

This law is so new that administrative rules have not yet been issued. It is likely additional requirements will be imposed on employers to implement this law. We, of course, will keep you posted. 

 

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