The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a final rule implementing the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008.
Signed by President George W. Bush, the law makes it illegal for employers to collect genetic information on employees or to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of genetic data or family medical history. While many of the law’s provisions apply to health insurance providers, the EEOC rule addresses the use of genetic information in the workplace.
The final rule answers questions posed by commenters on the interim rule. For example, the final rule contains clarification on the “inadvertent request” portion of the law. Under GINA, employers do not violate the law if they inadvertently gain genetic information about an employer through casual conversation about health matters or through overhearing employees discussing such issues. However, the EEOC warns that asking probing follow-up questions or eavesdropping to obtain genetic information is prohibited under the law.