Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
Also known as: GINA
Signed into law by George W. Bush
May 21, 2008
GINA protects Americans from discrimination based on their genetic information in both health insurance (Title I) and employment (Title II). GINA prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future. The legislation also bars employers from using individuals' genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.
Enforcement & Remedies
The EEOC enforces Title II of GINA (dealing with genetic discrimination in employment). The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have responsibility for issuing regulations for Title I of GINA, which addresses the use of genetic information in health insurance.
An employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in violation of GINA must first pursue his or her claims with the EEOC. After pursuing a GINA claim with the EEOC, the employee may file a civil lawsuit against the employer.
An aggrieved individual may seek reinstatement, hiring, promotion, back pay, injunctive relief, pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages (including compensatory and punitive damages) and attorneys’ fees and costs. Title VII’s cap on combined compensatory and punitive damages also applies to actions under Title II of GINA.1 Punitive damages are not available against federal, state, or local government employers.