Kelley Drye's Labor and Employment
Practice Group has prepared a client advisory regarding the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act" ("GINA") which was signed into law yesterday by President Bush. The new law expands even further the list of unlawful employment practices and potential legal claims which disgruntled employees may file.
What This Means to You
The GINA applies to most employers, including all of those covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, if you have more than 15 employees, you are covered. The GINA makes it unlawful for an employer to fire or refuse to hire, discharge, limit, segregate, classify or "otherwise adversely affect the status" of an employee or applicant based on any "genetic information" concerning the employee or the employee's "family member." The GINA preempts any less stringent state laws. It is likely that the new statute will give rise to new litigation, as any new federal law always tends to spawn new claims, based upon an untested statute. This advisory provides advice on the steps you need to take to make sure you have the correct policies in place.