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Legal and legislative

May 23 2008

President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act on Wednesday, a law designed to prevent employers and insurers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information. Reuters reported the law prohibits employers from using genetic information in hiring or firing as well as in pay or promotion decisions.

Separately, on Wednesday, a bill was introduced in Congress to increase penalties on employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors and to increase efforts to catch such employers. The law was introduced by Representatives Lynn Woolsey, D-CA, and Rob Andrews, D-NJ. The lawmakers cited a Government Accountability Office study that found more than 10 million U.S. workers are classified as independent contractors and a Massachusetts study that found 11.4% of that state's construction workers had been misclassified as independent contractors between 2001 and 2003.

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