Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act passes in U.S. House of Representatives

April 26, 2007

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 (GINA) was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, by a vote of 420-3. The act will protect individuals against discrimination based on their genetic information when it comes to health insurance and employment.  Title II addresses employment and provides that it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer–

  1. to fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge, any employee, or otherwise to discriminate against any employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the employee, because of genetic information with respect to the employee; or
  2. to limit, segregate, or classify the employees of the employer in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any employee of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of the employee as an employee, because of genetic information with respect to the employee.
  3. to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee or a family member of the employee.

Powers, remedies and procedures are patterned after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-4 et seq.) and section 1977A of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1981a), existing anti-discrimination federal legislation. 

The Act is available online at The Library of Congress site.  The National Human Genome Research Institute has also posted information on their website.