Genetics & Genomics

Genetic Discrimination: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act’s Impact on Practice and Research

Meghan L. Underhill-Blazey

Margaret R. Klehm

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, genetic testing, genetic discrimination
CJON 2020, 24(2), 135-137. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.135-137

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) provides federal safeguards to prohibit employer or insurance discrimination based on personal or familial genetic information or conditions. Awareness of the implications of genetic testing in individuals and families and of state and federal legislation in place for their protection is an essential component of oncology nursing practice. This article discusses the critical role of the oncology nurse in interacting with and providing information about GINA to patients in a cancer care setting engaged in genetic assessment.


  • GINA protects individuals against workplace or insurance discrimination connected to genetic information in an individual or family. The law does not cover military, life, long-term, or disability insurance. 
  • States have laws that protect individuals’ and families’ genetic information, and practitioners should be aware of protections unique to the patient population served. 
  • Informed and engaged oncology nurses should participate in interprofessional teams to learn how to interpret and apply genetic information in practice and research.
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