Effective November 21 2009, the new GINA (The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) regulations will goes into effect, mandated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In order to comply with new requirements, all covered businesses must have a new GINA poster displayed in a workplace common area where all employees can see it.
GINA, signed into law by George W. Bush on May 21st 2008, protects insurance policy holders and employees from discrimination on the basis of genetic information. New GINA requirements apply to private, state, and local government employers with 15 or more employees. Labor unions, employment agencies, joint labor-management training programs, as well as Congress and federal executive branch agencies must also comply with GINA requirements.
The GINA prohibition on gathering genetic information includes taking information on an employee’s family medical history – especially hereditary illnesses like heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and other inherited conditions. GINA makes it illegal for employers to use an employee's genetic information when making employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotions, or any other terms of employment. Employers are also forbidden from inquiring whether members of the employee’s family have heritable diseases. Even if the employee volunteers such information in casual conversation, the employer is prohibited from considering it when making employment decisions.