What Does the Federal GINA Law Do?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA, represents the latest addition of the types of employment discrimination protections available under federal law. This law prevents employers, among others, from discriminating against individuals in hiring, firing or the terms or conditions of employment based upon a genetic predisposition to certain health conditions.
Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in 2008 to combat the growing practice of employers attempting to screen out employees who were at risk for certain genetic disorders in order to save money on health insurance expenses. Health insurers, as well, were using this information to screen out applicants with certain genetic traits or force them to pay higher premiums. In both cases, this discrimination was directed at people who did not actually have these medical conditions but had the genetic predisposition to develop them in the future or pass them to their children.
In a similar vein, legislators also intended to encourage members of the public to take advantage of advances in genetic testing to get early warning and treatment for a number of genetic diseases:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Huntington’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Skin cancer
- Sickle cell disease
- High cholesterol
The employment law attorneys at the DEREK T. SMITH LAW GROUP, PLLC handles many cases that involve unlawful employment discrimination in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 or toll-free at 1-877-4NYLAWS, or click here to email us.
Doctors can often more effectively combat genetic diseases if they receive early warning through genetic testing. Yet many people were afraid to have such testing done because the results could make it more difficult to get a job or get health insurance. The passage of GINA alleviated that concern by making genetic discrimination actionable in federal court.
In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 280 allegations of genetic discrimination in employment and administratively recovered more than $2 million in compensation for victims. This does not include the money victims recovered through independent lawsuits after receiving the right to sue from the EEOC