Employment Law Basics: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Employment laws can be confusing and downright scary.

They don’t have to be. As a public service, from now until my special Halloween webinar Answers to the World’s Scariest Employment Law Questions, I’ll be tackling each major law one by one to give you what you REALLY need to know. By the end, you’ll have handy one-page cheat sheets for each and every law and your terror level will be reduced to zero.

Today’s Topic: GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Here is basically everything you need to know about the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in one handy post.


What employers are covered?

Those with 15 or more employees

What are GINA’s basics?

  • Prohibits discrimination based on genetic information.
  • Prohibits employers from collecting genetic information, with limited exceptions.
  • Prohibits health insurance and plans from requiring genetic testing and from discriminating based on genetic information.
  • Imposes strict confidentiality rules.

Does GINA prohibit retaliation?

Article Continues Below


What are potential penalties?

  • Front and/or back pay;
  • Reinstatement;
  • Compensatory damages;
  • Punitive damages;
  • Attorneys’ fees.

Stay tuned for more. Tomorrow, we’ll de-scare-ify harassment law.

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at mark.toth@manpowergroup.com.


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