EEOC Issues Final Regulations Interpreting Federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

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On November 9, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued final regulations interpreting Title II of the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”), which addresses GINA’s employment provisions. GINA is the federal law that bans employment discrimination based on an individual’s genetic information. GINA went into effect on November 21, 2009. The regulations will assist employers in understanding the law’s provisions.

GINA prohibits “covered entities”, which includes employers with 15 or more employees, from “requesting, requiring or purchasing” an employee or former employee’s “genetic information” and from making employment decisions based on such information. GINA also provides that an employer that obtains an individual’s protected genetic information is required to keep the data private in the same manner as the employer is required to maintain the confidentiality of information protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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