On May 21, 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 became law. The Act broadens the scope of protections afforded individuals against unlawful or unauthorized usage of genetic information by imposing standards on health plans, insurers and employers.
The Act defines “genetic information” as information about an individual or his or her family’s genetic test(s) and/or about a family member’s manifested disease or disorder. Among other things, the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of genetic information. The law does not preempt state law that offers greater employee protections. Since 1995, the New Law Against Discrimination has prohibited discrimination based on genetic information, which is defined as “information about genes, gene products, or inherited characteristics that may derive from an individual or family member,” and therefore offers much broader protection to employees than the federal law.
Remedies and penalties under the Act are the same as under Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act.