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Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

Published by on May 1, 2008

The U.S. House approved the Senate version of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 today in a 414-1 vote.  According to PointofLaw.com, the bill is expected to be signed by the President. UPDATE:  President Bush signed the GINA on May 21, 2008. Detailed information regarding the bill can be found here.  The bill outlaws […]

The U.S. House approved the Senate version of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 today in a 414-1 vote.  According to PointofLaw.com, the bill is expected to be signed by the President.

UPDATE:  President Bush signed the GINA on May 21, 2008.

Detailed information regarding the bill can be found here.  The bill outlaws discrimination by employers or insurance companies on the basis of genetic information.  It does not permit disparate impact claims.

The bill’s definition of “genetic information” has a similar flavor to the definitions in the ADA and FMLA because it is much broader than simply genetic information about an individual:

The term `genetic information’ means, with respect to any individual, information about–

(i) such individual’s genetic tests,
(ii) the genetic tests of family members of such individual, and
(iii) the manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of such individual.

Tucked into the bill are also amendments to the civil penalty provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Section 203 of the Act provides:

(a) In General- Section 16(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 216(e)) is amended to read as follows:

(e)(1)(A) Any person who violates the provisions of sections 12 or 13(c), relating to child labor, or any regulation issued pursuant to such sections, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed–

(i) $11,000 for each employee who was the subject of such a violation; or

(ii) $50,000 with regard to each such violation that causes the death or serious injury of any employee under the age of 18 years, which penalty may be doubled where the violation is a repeated or willful violation.

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term `serious injury’ means–

(i) permanent loss or substantial impairment of one of the senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, tactile sensation);

(ii) permanent loss or substantial impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, including the loss of all or part of an arm, leg, foot, hand or other body part; or

(iii) permanent paralysis or substantial impairment that causes loss of movement or mobility of an arm, leg, foot, hand or other body part.

(2) Any person who repeatedly or willfully violates section 6 or 7, relating to wages, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,100 for each such violation.

(3) In determining the amount of any penalty under this subsection, the appropriateness of such penalty to the size of the business of the person charged and the gravity of the violation shall be considered. The amount of any penalty under this subsection, when finally determined, may be–

(A) deducted from any sums owing by the United States to the person charged;

(B) recovered in a civil action brought by the Secretary in any court of competent jurisdiction, in which litigation the Secretary shall be represented by the Solicitor of Labor; or

(C) ordered by the court, in an action brought for a violation of section 15(a)(4) or a repeated or willful violation of section 15(a)(2), to be paid to the Secretary.

(4) Any administrative determination by the Secretary of the amount of any penalty under this subsection shall be final, unless within 15 days after receipt of notice thereof by certified mail the person charged with the violation takes exception to the determination that the violations for which the penalty is imposed occurred, in which event final determination of the penalty shall be made in an administrative proceeding after opportunity for hearing in accordance with section 554 of title 5, United States Code, and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary.

(5) Except for civil penalties collected for violations of section 12, sums collected as penalties pursuant to this section shall be applied toward reimbursement of the costs of determining the violations and assessing and collecting such penalties, in accordance with the provision of section 2 of the Act entitled `An Act to authorize the Department of Labor to make special statistical studies upon payment of the cost thereof and for other purposes’ (29 U.S.C. 9a). Civil penalties collected for violations of section 12 shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

If the President signs the Act into law, we will post again about the details of the new law.

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