Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

On January 10, 2011, Title II regulations of Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became effective.
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  • GINA Prohibits discrimination in employment based on genetic information. This means any decisions concerning any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, and fringe benefits cannot be based on genetic information.

  • GINA restricts acquisition and disclosure of genetic information, and requires it be maintained confidentially. Acquisitions include, but are not limited to, searches on social media websites (i.e. facebook), asking probing questions in regards to someone’s health status or condition, and fitness for duty tests that discloses genetic information.

  • Genetic Information includes an individual’s genetic tests, genetic tests of family members, an individual’s family medical history, requests for genetic services, or genetic information of a fetus.

  • Family Members includes relatives of an individual, up to the “fourth degree,” which includes Parents, siblings, children, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, half-siblings, great-grandparents, great grandchildren, great uncles/aunts, and first cousins, great-great grandparents, great-great grandchildren, and first cousins once-removed, and dependants of the individual.

  • Builds on HIPAA’s protections. GINA expands the genetic information protections included in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA prevents a plan or issuer from imposing a preexisting condition exclusion provision based solely on genetic information, and prohibits discrimination in individual eligibility, benefits, or premiums based on any health factor (including genetic information).

  • Exemptions to GINA. Inadvertent acquisitions, Voluntary Wellness programs, Requests for genetic information in connection with leave of absence management (including documentation for Family and Medical Leave Act), reviews of commercially and publically available information, genetic monitoring with respect to certain toxic substances, and DNA analysis in connection with law enforcement.




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Date Updated:January 11, 2011