Legal Alert: Employers and Insurers Meet GINA - The Newest Addition to the Federal Discrimination Law Family

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On May 21, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) (H.R. 493), which prohibits discrimination by employers and insurers based on genetic information.

The employment discrimination provisions of the law apply to employers covered by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and are similar to many provisions of Title VII. For example, employees must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a discrimination lawsuit. Additionally, GINA provides for the right to a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages patterned after Title VII. It also provides for the recovery of attorney fees for prevailing plaintiffs under the general fee-shifting statute applicable to federal civil rights act claims. However, unlike Title VII, GINA does not create a disparate impact cause of action for genetic discrimination.

See full alert for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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