President Bush signed the "Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act," or "GINA." Title I of the new law prohibits the use of genetic testing or genetic testing results to affect health insurance premiums. "Genetic testing" includes one's own test and the tests of family members.

Title II of the law addresses employment discrimination. Basically, the law follows Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and bars employers' reliance on genetic information in making employment decisions. The law specifically says there are no disparate impact claims allowed, so intentional discrimination must be proved. It's also illegal to request genetic information, although there are exceptions for inadvertent requests (such as family history) and when information is disclosed as part of an FMLA procedure.

I'm not sure whether any employers were discriminating based on genetic information, or where they were getting it. Apparently, Congress saw a need to step in, though. So, you genetic testers and discriminators - knock it off. Actually, the law takes effect in 18 months. By that time, remember to update your handbooks, applications, training programs, and EEO statements. Also, I'm sure there will be a new poster(!)

Here's the text of the new law.

H/T to Ross Runkel for the link and for lots of other information.