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Did you know that there is a now a federal law which protects you against discrimination based on genetic information?

While the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), was enacted almost three years ago, the regulations actually just went into effect in January 2011.

GINA prohibits most employers from acquiring genetic information about you, and if for some reason an employer has that information, it requires the employer to keep it confidential.

How might this affect you? Here’s an example:

If you are out of work due to an on-the-job injury — let’s say your back was injured — many employers require you to submit to a “fitness for duty” medical examination in order to return to work. Often times, the doctors conducting those examinations explore your medical history as part of that examination. However, your medical history likely has nothing to do with whether you have recovered from an on-the-job injury. GINA means that in order for you to get back to work after a back injury, you will not have to reveal a family history of cancer or that you are receiving treatment for hereditary diseases, since those issues have nothing to do with your recovery from a back injury.