Effective January 10, 2011, New GINA Regulations Will Impact Common HR Practices By Adam R. Long

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In November, the EEOC issued final regulations implementing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”). GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in employment decisions and restricts an employer’s ability to request, require, or purchase genetic information. GINA also requires employers to treat all genetic information as confidential medical information and places restrictions on the disclosure of genetic information. GINA applies to all employers who are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC’s new regulations take effect on January 10, 2011, and clarify a number of GINA’s key employment-related requirements and prohibitions.

Broad Definition of “Genetic Information”

Under GINA and the EEOC regulations, “genetic information” includes any information about an individual’s genetic tests, the genetic tests of that individual’s family members, or the manifestation of a disease or disorder in any of that individual’s family members (i.e., family medical history). The term “family members” also is defined broadly and includes spouses, natural and adopted children, parents, siblings, half-siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, first cousins, and first cousins once-removed.

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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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