Friday, May 2, 2008

Legal News Brief: Genetic Nondiscrimination Act pending presidential approval

Yesterday the House of Representatives followed the senate and approved the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in an almost unanimous vote.

The House passed GINA along to the President’s desk by a vote of 414-1. President Bush is expected to follow suit and sign the bill into law.

Passage of the bill will prohibit employers and insurance providers from discriminating against workers on the basis of genetic information. Anyone with a predisposed genetic condition such as diabetes, hemophilia, sickle cell disease or breast cancer will be protected.

Some lawmakers are calling the bill “the first major civil rights act of the 21st century,” according to the Associated Press. Federal laws already protect employees against gender and racial discrimination, but this would be the first law to address genetic information discrimination.

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