Attorney answers questions about genetic testing law

Q&A with Paul A. Ross

published in The Oklahoman | July 17, 2008

McAfee & Taft employment attorney Paul Ross was featured in The Oklahoman discussing new discrimination protection recently signed into law called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

“GINA prohibits employers from requiring genetic testing, collecting genetic information, or discriminating against applicants or employees because of genetic information,” Ross said. “Second, it prohibits health insurers from affecting enrollment or premiums for health insurance on the basis of genetic information.”

Rather than addressing any current problem with genetic discrimination, it appears the law is actually proactive, Ross said. “As the health benefits of genetic testing and other services become clearer, Congress sought to alleviate any fears that such information may negatively affect a person’s livelihood.”

Ross said the law requires the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to issue final regulations within the next year. “As those regulations become available, we will know more about our obligations as employers.”