EEOC Issues Final GINA Title II Regulations

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On November 9, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final regulations regarding Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). Title II of GINA, which became effective on November 21, 2009, regulates an employer’s acquisition and use of its employees’ genetic information...

The recently issued regulations clarify GINA’s scope and impact on employers with respect to the following topics (among others):

Definitions: The regulations highlight and clarify key definitions under GINA.

For instance:

“Employers” are defined as they are defined under Title VII of the Civil RightsAct of 1964 (i.e., 15 or more employees); “Genetic Information” is broadly defined to include: (a) genetic tests of an individual or his/her family members; (b) an individual’s family medical history; (c) an individual’s request for or receipt of genetic services or participation in clinical research that includes genetic services; and (d) genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or a pregnant woman who is a family member of the individual, and the genetic information of any embryo legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive technology; and, “Genetic Tests” are defined to include: (a) carrier screening for adults using genetic analysis to determine the risk of conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sicklecell anemia, spinal muscular atrophy, or fragile X syndrome in future offspring; (b) tests to determine if someone has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant evidencing a predisposition to breast cancer; and (c) DNA testing that reveals family relationships, such as paternity. Notably, the regulations also describe tests that do not qualify as genetic tests (e.g., complete blood counts, cholesterol tests, and liver function tests).

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