The EEOC recently posted some additional guidance related to the new GINA regulations that it released that will become effective in January 2011. For small businesses, the guidance will be very helpful as companies plot their course to compliance.
One document provides some additional background material on the law while the other document answers from FAQs that might arise for small businesses.
What is helpful about the documents is that they explain in further detail how GINA will affect other laws that are already on the books, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or FMLA.
Underlying all of this is the understanding that GINA "is concerned primarily with protecting those individuals who may be discriminated against because an employer thinks they are at increased risk of acquiring a condition in the future. Someone who is discriminated against because she actually has breast cancer or another condition would not be protected by GINA, even if the condition has a genetic basis.”
The Washington DC Employment Law Update has, as usual, some additional particulars about the new guidance:
The guidance clarifies a number of other issues under the final rule, such as what an employer must do to comply with GINA when lawfully requesting health-related information; when an employer’s acquisition of genetic information would be deemed inadvertent and thus not unlawful; under what conditions may an employer conduct genetic monitoring to determine if employees are being affected by harmful substances in the workplace; and how Title II applies to employment decisions concerning the provision of health benefits. The Q&A documents also include model language provided in the final rule that an employer may use as a warning for employees not to provide genetic information when providing the employer with health-related information.
For employers that are starting to think about how to implement GINA, these documents provide an additional resource for employers to consider.