With unanimous approval, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a final rule implementing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (PDF), or GINA, which prohibits use of genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment.
Final rule on Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act issued
Passed in 2008, the act also restricts both the acquisition and disclosure of genetic information. Congress enacted the legislation as a response to concerns that patients would decline the availability of genetic testing out of fear that they would lose their jobs or health insurance if tests revealed adverse information, according to the Commission, which issued a proposed rule in early March 2009. The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 10, 2011.
Published in the Nov. 9 edition of the Federal Register, the rule includes examples of genetic tests; explains the act's prohibition against requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information; provides language employers can use when requesting medical information from employees to avoid acquiring genetic information; and describes how GINA applies to genetic information obtained through electronic media such as websites and social networking sites.
The commission also issued two documents with questions and answers about the regulations for employers.
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