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What federal law protects workers against genetic discrimination?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2020 | Workplace Discrimination

It isn’t the name of your newest co-worker, but GINA holds an important position in your workplace that you’ll want to know about. GINA stands for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. This federal law protects workers from discrimination in the workplace based on their genetic information. Genetic information includes genetic history, testing and family medical history.

How does this law affect employers?

Employers cannot use genetic information in employment decisions or take unfair action against an employee because of his or her genetic information. Employment decisions include hiring, firing, promotions, pay and job duties. Employers also cannot request or require genetic information from prospective employees.

Employees can choose to provide genetic information as part of a voluntary wellness program. An employer cannot require this information of employees or punish an employee if he or she decides not to disclose it, however.

Are all employers required to comply with GINA?

As written, the law doesn’t apply to every company or employer. GINA does not apply to those with fewer than 15 employees and it does not apply to the U.S. military.

Importantly, GINA is a federal law that applies minimum protections against genetic discrimination; however, states can have stricter protections if they choose.

Where can I go if I have additional questions about GINA?

For those with additional questions, an experienced employment law lawyer can help you understand GINA. An attorney can also evaluate compliance requirements for Indiana state law and can provide you with framework to apply these regulations to your organization.


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