Garrett Fenton Comments on Lack of Clarity on GINA and ADA Coordination in SHRM Online

"Coordinating Wellness Requirements Under ADA and GINA Cloudy"
SHRM Online
05.14.15

Garrett Fenton commented on the lack of clarity in compliance coordination between the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) regarding incentives for wellness programs. GINA prohibits offering incentives for employees to provide genetic information on a health risk assessment, and Fenton said family medical history is defined by GINA to include the illnesses of a spouse, even though no DNA is shared between spouses.

Fenton asked whether a gift card offered for a spouse to complete a health risk assessment constitutes a prohibited incentive. "There are some reports that regional EEOC offices have raised that issue. It could be problematic under GINA. It will be interesting if the national office will take that position or not," he said, suggesting that EEOC offices that have taken the position may just be "rogue."

According to Fenton, "Some hoped that if you comply with ACA, you'd comply with the ADA" for purposes of wellness programs and incentives, but GINA doesn’t overlap to the same extent. However, “just because you're compliant with the ADA does not mean you comply with GINA," he said.

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