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HR Issues Update - January 26, 2007
Federal Affairs

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As an HR professional, you know how important it is to protect the privacy and confidentiality of employees’ medical information, including genetics. However, new proposals in Congress could expose employers to lawsuits if they allegedly discriminate in their health care coverage and employment decisions on the basis of genetics.

On Tuesday, January 30, 2007, SHRM member Burt Fishman will appear before the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions to discuss genetic discrimination and pending legislation intended to protect workers.  Fishman will testify on behalf of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination in Employment Coalition, which SHRM co-chairs. 

As currently drafted, the legislation would make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on that individual’s or family’s genetic make-up.  Health insurance companies and employers also could be bared from denying health care coverage due to a potential genetic condition.  Employers are concerned that such proposals could lead to expensive and frivolous litigation.

SHRM is seeking a balanced approach that protects the interests of both employees and employers. For more information, please contact Michael Layman  in SHRM’s Governmental Affairs department.

For more information about these and other public policy issues, please visit
©2007 Society for Human Resource Management

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