The EEOC has issued the final regs implementing the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). And it also outlined when it’s permissible for employers to acquire this kind of data from employees.
As you know, GINA’s designed to prohibit the use of genetic information to make decisions about health insurance and employment, and restricts the ways the data can be acquired.
EEOC’s final regs:
- provide examples of genetic tests
- 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.
When employers can gather genetic info
The regs do allow companies to learn this kind of info, under certain circumstances. Here’s a sampling:
- when it’s discovered inadvertently — like in the case of a supervisor overhearing an employee talk about a family member’s illness, or in public media like newspapers
- as part of a wellness program, as long as the information isn’t used for cost-setting purposes
- as part of the FMLA certification process
- as part of a program that monitors the effect of toxic substances in the workplace, and
- for law enforcement purposes.
For more on the EEOC and GINA, go here.