EEOC accepting public comment on proposed GINA rules

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on February 25, 2009, implementing employment requirements of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The EEOC is seeking public comment on the notice.

“The addition of genetic information discrimination to the EEOC’s mandate is historic, and represents the first legislative expansion of the EEOC’s jurisdiction since the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990,” said Acting EEOC Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru in a press release. “We welcome the opportunity to implement important provisions of this landmark legislation, and to expand the promise of equal opportunity in the workplace for everyone.”

The proposed rule provides additional guidance regarding some of the terms used in GINA. For example, the rule defines “employee” to cover not just current employees, but also applicants and former employees.

It also clarifies that drug and alcohol tests are not “genetic tests,” and invites comments on the scope of the term “genetic test,” specifically, “how the term should be applied, whether the proposed rule should be more or less expansive, and whether it or the preamble should provide examples of what should be included or excluded.”

The proposed rule also specifically mentions that the EEOC will update its EEO poster to include information regarding GINA. Final regulations must be completed by May 21, 2009.

“GINA is an important piece of legislation. As a deliberative body, we want to ensure that the intent of Congress is properly carried out through our regulations. Public comment on this NPRM is a critical part of that process. We look forward to a vigorous and thoughtful review,” said acting EEOC Vice Chair Christine M. Griffin.

The EEOC set up a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule-making. Comments will be accepted through May 1, 2009.

You may submit comments by accessing the Federal eRulemaking Portal at Comments will also be accepted by mail and fax. Read more instructions on submitting comments here.

For more information on the GINA regulations, read:

President signs Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act

Genetic non-discrimination law includes increased FLSA child labor penalties

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