The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”) is now in effect for employers of 15 or more. Under GINA, “genetic information” is defined as information about an individual’s genetic tests, genetic tests of family member of any individual, and “the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of such individual.”
The Act makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate based on genetic information in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. Employers also may not classify, limit or segregate employees in any way because of genetic information that would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or adversely affect their employment status. Employers are also prohibited from requesting, requiring, purchasing, or disclosing genetic information, except in limited circumstances. For instance, GINA allows covered entities to request or require “information . . . to comply with the certification provisions of” family medical leave laws and to conduct DNA analysis for law enforcement purposes. Retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under GINA, as well as harassment based on genetic information, is also prohibited. Harassment can include, for example, making offensive or derogatory remarks about an applicant or employee’s genetic information, or about the genetic information of a relative of the applicant or employee.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has revised its required workplace posters to include the new GINA provisions as well as other recent updates to employment law. Employers can print free of charge a supplemental poster and post it alongside their other required postings. The supplement can be downloaded at no charge from the EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/upload/eeoc_gina_supplement.pdf. Alternatively, employers can print and post the EEOC's November 2009 version of the "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" poster, which also is available at no charge on the EEOC's website at http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/upload/eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.
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