October 23, 2009
Question of the Week: Will GINA Cause Problems for Us?
Filed under: News
Vision Payroll

This week’s question comes from Ron, an HR director. We’ve been hearing that GINA is going to create problems for many employers. We have fifty-five employees. Will GINA cause problems for us? Answer: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is effective November 21, 2009 and creates a new set of rules for two types of entities: health insurance companies and private, state, and local government employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor unions, and joint labor-management training programs. Health insurers are generally prohibited from using genetic information to determine eligibility, to determine premium levels, or in determining a pre-existing condition. For employers, GINA generally prohibits discrimination in the employment process because of genetic information. Although the rules are very complex, some limited protections are available when an employer may inadvertently learn information about an employee. For example, a question about a relative’s health may result in the employer learning about family medical history. This might be protected under some of the provisions of GINA. Conversely, state law may provide protection that is more beneficial to the employee and must be followed. Due to complex nature of the many new rules, Vision Payroll strongly recommends covered employers and employers that offer health insurance contact competent labor law attorneys for guidance in this area. If you need a referral to an attorney, contact Vision Payroll so that GINA doesn’t cause problems for you.


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