GINA: Not Just About the Genetics

President Bush signed into law, on May 21st, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Beyond the expected healthcare provisions it also had two very HR related provisions:

  1. It prohibits discrimination in all areas of employment on the basis of genetic information of the employee or employee’s close relatives. This includes hiring, firing, compensation, terms or priviledges of employment. An employer would also be prohibited from limiting, segregating, or classifying an employee in any fashion that would deprive the employee of any employment opportunities or adversely affect the status of the employee because of the employee’s genetic information (or the genetic information of the family member of the individual).
  2. A change unrelated to genetic information is the amendment to the Child Labor section of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). GINA provided for fines of up to $100,000 for any child labor violation that leads to the death or serious injury of any employee under the age of 18.

To me preventing the death or injury of any employee is of paramount importance, but especially if you have children working for you. If you needed anything else there is also this significant financial “incentive.” So make your workplaces safe, have rules that are enforced and watch those kids. They think they are “bullet-proof” and may be inclined to short cut the rules.

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