The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on Nov. 9, 2010, published its long-awaited regulations implementing those portions of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) applicable to employers. GINA prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information and generally prohibits employers from acquiring or disclosing genetic information. GINA applies to all employers subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and adopts Title VII’s enforcement schemes except that disparate claims are not permitted.
Simple as GINA’s general rules might sound, their application to specific factual circumstances can be baffling and counterintuitive. The fundamental challenge for employers lies in the definition of “genetic information,” which is far broader than what common sense would advise, i.e., that genetic information is limited to the results of tests that reveal an employee’s genetic composition or a heightened risk of an inherited disease.
The 10 tips below address those aspects of GINA and the EEOC’s implementing regulations that employers likely will find most challenging and encounter on a recurring basis, and provides practical recommendations on how to handle those challenges.
1) Understand the Definition of “Genetic Information”
As noted above, “genetic information” encompasses far more than the results of a genetic test. Genetic information includes family medical history, and that term is very broadly defined.Continue Reading...