Sunday, November 8, 2009

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Chaos

Earlier today I sent out a reminder to my clients that November 21st is the deadline for posting the new GINA poster. Unfortunately I'm just nerdy enough to spend some time on the web reading about the law and some presentations on it. One of those presentations reminded me again why normal people make fun of Human Resources folks. The attorney who wrote it actually recommended that companies NOT send sympathy cards to sick employees and/or family members because of this Act. What?

I understand that personal health information needs to be closely guarded, but really, no sympathy cards? In the past, I was one of the company representatives designated to attend the funerals of employees, spouses, and close family members. While I suppose I could have used that opportunity to grill the remaining family members about their health histories, the thought honestly never crossed my mind.

Discrimination is a bad thing for many reasons, but showing the people who spend the majority of their waking hours with you that you actually care about them, is simply good management. The goodwill that you generate will provide a lot more protection than strict adherence to a legal principle that alienates your employees. So, go to funerals, send flowers and cards, and then make your employment decisions based on each individual's knowledge, skills and abilities. That's what really matters in the long run anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Good Human Resources:
    One of the biggest problems I see with employers today is that employees are just that- employees. Used to be that they were considered "family". If companies want to improve dedication and teamwork, acknowledging that employees do have personal lives is certainly a great way to start. Send cards! From: a generic employee