Law Innovations (Philippines)

Updates in Philippine law, upgrades for the Filipino lawyer

The Most Important U.S. Anti-Discrimination Law In the Last Two Decades

Posted by Oli Reyes on November 16, 2009

The U.S. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act has been called by the New York Times as “the most important new antidiscrimination law in two decades”. It was enacted in 2008, but takes effect only next week.

The two most prominent targets of the new law are employers and health insurers. The GINA prohibits employers from requiring genetic testing or taking into account one’s genetic background for purposes of hiring, firing or promotion. Health insurers from using such genetic information or requiring genetic testing in order to deny coverage or increase/decrease health premiums.

In this age where genetic information is increasingly more intimate in revealing one’s biological makeup and future, people of have become more queasy in divulging their personal genetic information. The GINA alleviates these fears and imposes restrictions on how such information can be used to inflict pecuniary pain. The GINA likewise aligns with the very concerns that led to the recognition to a constitutional right to privacy — the right to be let alone.

It is easy to foresee that similar legislation will emerge in the Philippines, especially for the purpose of enforcing similar restrictions on the health insurance industry. Such legislation will generally be popular, privacy rights being concerns that held close to one’s heart.


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