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    Illinois Strengthens Genetic Privacy Law

    “The [Illinois] General Assembly overwhelmingly passed legislation banning employers, labor unions, and employment agencies from seeking [Illinois residents’ genetic] information or using it as a basis in personnel decisions,” according to BNA’s Privacy Law Watch (subscription required).

    As this bill was being debated in Illinois, Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Illinois’s S.B. 2399, “An Act concerning health,” strengthens privacy protections already in place under the Illinois Genetic Information Privacy Act of 1998, and contains many provisions similar to those in the federal genetic privacy law.

    However, the Illinois law is more protective of privacy in its penalty provisions. Privacy Law Watch reports:

    While GINA exempts small employers, S.B. 2399 ensures that all employers are covered. State employees, who would not be protected under GINA due to sovereign immunity theory, would achieve protection under S.B. 2399.

    S.B. 2399 boosts penalties for negligent and intentional mishandling of genetic information. The bill raises the penalties to $2,500 per occurrence for negligent mishandling and $15,000 per occurrence for intentional mishandling.

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