The newest GINA regulations issued by the US Department of Labor, the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services go into effect for plans starting on December 7, 2009 or later.
GINA prevents employers from gathering information on employees’ genetic makeup, and from making employment decisions based on that information. Many employers are surprised to learn that while they do not engage in genetic testing, common HR practices may still put them in violation of the law.
A behavior as simple as asking an employee returning from an uncle’s funeral about the cause of death may be a GINA violation.
Genetic information is interpreted very broadly under the sweeping new GINA regulations. In addition to genetic testing, GINA also includes an employees requests for or receipt of genetic services, and family medical history. This includes any manifestation of a disease or disorder in the employee’s family members including dependents plus all relatives to the fourth degree without regard to whether they are related by blood, marriage or adoption. This would include (more…)
Effective Nov. 21, 2009 the GINA mandatory posting requirement went into effect, meaning that employers can be fined or penalized for not complying.
Under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, employers are prohibited from gathering information regarding an employee’s genetic predisposition for disease. This includes querying an employee before or after hiring about a family history of heart disease or cancer, just to cite one example.
This law does not cover lifestyle issues such as smoking, drinking alcohol, handgun ownership or use of seat belts.
GINA was signed into law by then-president George W. Bush on May 21, 2008. The law primarily addresses genetic discrimination by by health insurance companies. It addresses a fear that, for example, a health insurance provider might refuse coverage to a healthy individual, merely because his father and grandfather died of heart attacks.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the basis of information obtained through genetic testing. With more than 40 genetic tests for various health conditions available, the fear (more…)
Effective November 21, 2009 employers are required to display a new federal poster. Employers must display a GINA poster in an area where all employees can see it.
GINA, of course, is the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act of 2008. Under GINA, employers are prohibited from gathering information on an employee’s genetic makeup. Employers are also prohibited from considering an employee’s genetic information in making employment decisions.
Health insurance providers cannot discriminate against consumers, based on genetic information under GINA. For example, a health insurance company could not refuse to cover an individual, simply because her mother, grandmother and aunt all had breast cancer. Even if genetic testing showed that the consumer had a gene for breast cancer, that alone would not be sufficient cause for the health insurance company to deny her coverage.
The GINA prohibition on gathering genetic information also includes taking information on an employee’s family medical history – especially hereditary illnesses like heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and other inherited conditions.
GINA covers a wide variety of mental health conditions including depression, (more…)