The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) Page: 2 of 22
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The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination
Act of 2008 (GINA)
On May 21, 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
(GINA), referred to by its sponsors as the first civil rights act of the 21St century, was
enacted. GINA, P.L. 110-233, prohibits discrimination based on genetic information
by health insurers and employers. The sequencing of the human genome and
subsequent advances raise hope for genetic therapies to cure disease, but this
scientific accomplishment is not without potential problems. An employer or health
insurer could decide to take adverse action based on a genetic predisposition to
disease, and situations have arisen where discriminatory action based on genetic
information did occur. In addition, there is evidence that the fear of genetic
discrimination has an adverse effect on those seeking genetic testing, as well as on
participation in genetic research. GINA was enacted to remedy this situation.
GINA is divided into two main parts: Title I, which prohibits discrimination
based on genetic information by health insurers; and Title II, which prohibits
discrimination in employment based on genetic information. Title I of GINA amends
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Public Health
Services Act (PHSA), and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), through the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as well as the Social
Security Act, to prohibit health insurers from engaging in genetic discrimination.
Title II of GINA prohibits discrimination in employment because of genetic
information and, with certain exceptions, prohibits an employer from requesting,
requiring, or purchasing genetic information. The law prohibits the use of genetic
information in employment decisions - including hiring, firing, job assignments,
and promotions - by employers, unions, employment agencies, and
labor-management training programs.
This report provides background on genetic information, legal implications
regarding the use of this information, and relevant laws. It also discusses the
statutory provisions of GINA.
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The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), report, October 2, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc816278/m1/2/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.