Monday, November 23, 2009

DNA and Privacy: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

There's much media discussion about the health insurance reform bill making its way through Congress right now. One topic related to health reform is discrimination based on DNA samples. Today National Public Radio reported on a University of Akron policy, currently under review, that allows the school to request DNA samples from new employees in order to conduct background checks. This genetic information has the potential to provide the university with private information such as a person's risk for disease. Does an employee have a right to keep this information private? The NPR article suggests that the University of Akron's policy possibly violates the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which forbids health insurers and employers from using your genetic information against you.

The legislation became Public Law 110-233 in May 2008 but didn't go into full effect until November 21 of 2009. To read some of the federal regulations associated with this law, see the Federal Register from October 7, 2009.

To find additional regulatory information associated with workplace discrimination and health, take a look at our guides to labor and health.

No comments:

Post a Comment