Employee Benefits-EEOC Issues Final Rules on GINA

In a Press Release dated November 9, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) announced that it has issued final regulations which implement the employment provisions (Title II) of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”). According to the Press Release, GINA prohibits use of genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment, and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information. The Press Release also says:

Title II of GINA represents the first legislative expansion of the EEOC’s jurisdiction since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information, and restricts the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information. Genetic information includes:

–information about the genetic tests of an individual his or her family members;

–family medical history;

–requests for and receipt of genetic services by an individual or a family member; and

–genetic information about a fetus carried by an individual or family member, or about an embryo legally held by the individual or family member using assisted reproductive technology.

The final regulations:

— provide examples of genetic tests;

–more fully explain GINA’s prohibition against requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information;

–provide model language employers can use when requesting medical information from employees to avoid acquiring genetic information; and

–describe how GINA applies to genetic information obtained via electronic media, including websites and social networking sites.

The final regulations, background information and Q & As on the final regulations may be found through this website.