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Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) Compliance

Last Updated: 10/23/2009: Please bookmark this page to periodically check for updates.

New Poster Requirements Reflecting GINA and 2010 Now Available

As a result of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), federal labor law requirements will update for the 2010 calendar year. Effective November 21, 2009, employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the new GINA regulations, as mandated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Please note that in order to comply with new GINA requirements, all businesses must have updated labor law requirements posted in a workplace common area no later than November 21, 2009.

Labor law posters reflecting new GINA and 2010 requirements are now available from the LaborLawCenter. If you have not yet ordered an updated poster, plan to order your Complete Labor Law Poster, or Federal Labor Law Poster now in order to comply with new GINA and 2010 requirements

Businesses that have placed a pre-order with us can expect that the updated poster will be shipped out soon. In addition, all Compliance Protection Plan™ and e-Compliance program participants will automatically receive new updates, based on the delivery method specified under your plan.

Last Updated: 9/28/2009: Please bookmark this page to periodically check for updates.

New GINA Regulation Requirement Overview

On May 21, 2008, President George W. Bush signed The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), into law. The new law protects insurance policy holders and employees from discrimination on the basis of genetic information. GINA is scheduled to take effect on November 21, 2009.

Specifically, Title II of GINA strictly prohibits employers from collecting genetic information from employees, and using this information to make decisions regarding hiring, firing, or any other term of employment. GINA also states that employers, including labor unions and employment agencies, must adhere to strict guidelines regarding genetic information, and that it is prohibited to retaliate against an individual for opposing acts made lawful by GINA. New GINA requirements apply to all private, state, and local government employers, with 15 or more employees.

Although The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has not yet approved the Final Rule of Title II GINA, it is anticipated that the final regulations will be released two weeks prior to the law's effective date of November 21, 2009. Over the course of the next several weeks, businesses should plan to closely monitor how new GINA requirements unfold. Since the EEOC also enforces The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it has been suggested that final GINA regulations may affect existing corporate programs under ADA, such as wellness programs. In addition, it is possible that other state and federal regulations may also update in accordance with new GINA requirements.

To read full GINA regulations, click here.

Pre-Order & Compliance Management Service Options for GINA

By law, all businesses are required to post mandatory labor law posters in a workplace common area. This includes compliance with new federal GINA requirements, scheduled to go into effect on November 21. Businesses that would like to take action on the GINA requirements and also the 2010 state changes now should consider one of our pre-order options. By placing a pre-order, you ensure compliance with GINA today:

When the change occurs, you'll need to purchase new posters to reflect GINA. The products below will have the GINA update you'll need for compliance postings:

  • Pre-Order GINA Complete Labor Law Poster: Includes mandatory state updates for 2010, and federal updates to ensure GINA compliance. Your Complete Labor Law Poster will ship out to your location as soon as it is available. ORDER NOW
  • Pre-Order GINA Federal Labor Law Poster: Includes mandatory federal updates to ensure GINA compliance. Your Federal Labor Law Poster will ship out to you as soon as it becomes available. ORDER NOW
  • Compliance Protection Plan™: Program members receive a Complete Labor Law Poster NOW, and will receive an automatic poster replacement as soon as mandatory GINA updates occur.
  • e-Compliance Program™: Program members receive a Complete Labor Law Poster NOW, and will receive an automatic PDF replacement as soon as mandatory GINA updates occur.

For more information on the above plan options, visit our Compliance Management Services page.

 
Frequently Asked Questions


Who does GINA affect?

New GINA requirements apply to private, state, and local government employers with 15 or more employees. Labor unions, employment agencies, joint labor-management training programs, as well as Congress and federal executive branch agencies must also comply with GINA requirements.


Are entities subject to Title II of GINA required to comply with the law now?
No. Title II of GINA will go into effect on November 21, 2009.

What does Title II GINA prohibit?

In short, using genetic and family history information to make decisions related to terms or conditions of employment is strictly prohibited.


How does the federal law affect state laws?
Many states passed genetic discrimination laws before the federal law was passed. The purpose of the federal law is to set a required minimum standard for all states.

Are there any exceptions to the prohibition on use of genetic information?
No. According to the EEOC, "This prohibition is absolute. Covered entities may not use genetic information in making employment decisions under any circumstances."

Will there be a new poster that complies with Title II GINA requirements?
Yes. The Complete Labor Law Posters and Federal Labor Law Posters will update to reflect new GINA requirements. In addition, businesses may choose to participate in an ongoing compliance program. For more information, visit our Compliance Management Services page.

Why should I place a labor law poster PRE-ORDER today?
Placing a PRE-ORDER ensures that GINA compliance is taken care of ahead of time. We will automatically ship your poster to you as soon as final GINA updates occur.

 

Things to Consider: Preparing for GINA

Most states already have laws prohibiting the use of genetic information. Title II of GINA, however, is more comprehensive, so as an employer it's critical to understand requirements to ensure compliance with the Act. Although the new GINA regulations won't go into effect until later this year, plan to prepare for compliance in advance. The list below includes some steps you can take as an employer to prepare for GINA:

  • Individuals generally respond better to change when they understand the reasoning behind it. Plan to share GINA background information with all levels of your organization so they understand why any new changes are taking place.
  • Review any currently held genetic information, and move to confidential medical records. Make sure all genetic information is kept separate from employee personnel records.
  • Review all existing company forms and processes, and update forms as necessary to ensure compliance with new GINA requirements.
  • Implement policies that would prevent inadvertent release of genetic information. If genetic information has already been voluntarily released, remove information from employee personnel file to avoid potential discriminatory claims, or fines.
  • Consider updating your employee handbook to reflect new requirements. Although it's an added expense, using an out-dated handbook could result in fines down the road.
  • Review your company's existing insurance program. Does your organization's plan ask questions that may be deemed genetic in nature? Make certain your benefits manager negotiates non-discriminatory health coverage for all employees.
  • Understand that final GINA regulations may have an effect on your planned or existing corporate wellness programs. In addition, note that other state and federal requirements may change in accordance with GINA.

Note: It's important to note that Title II of The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act applies to employees, as well as work applicants. An employee cannot be demoted, or excluded for benefits due to DNA tests, or family history. When interviewing applicants, make certain that your organization's hiring and decision-making process abides by the new Act regulations. Alert your managers and other hiring staff that asking genetic health-related questions could be construed as genetically discriminatory, if the applicant is not hired.

*This page is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as Legal or implied legal advice. Please contact a local attorney or professional for your specific situation.

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