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Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:01 am

NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

A controversial plan before Congress that would permit companies to fine workers who refuse to share their genetic information through workplace wellness programs has prompted Illinois lawmakers to tighten up a state law protecting workers from such repercussions.“We’re seeing changes proposed at the federal level that are concerning to me and to others,” said Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 318, which passed unanimously (56-0) in the Illinois Senate on May 2. The legislation was a result of news that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, had proposed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313). Supporters said the measure would enable employers to have the “legal certainty” to promote good health while lowering health care costs. However, critics said it would allow employers to pressure workers to share their private genetic information by rewarding them with lower health insurance costs, while penalizing those who choose not to disclose such details. Manar’s update bars employers from penalizing workers who choose not to disclose their genetic information or do not participate in a program that requires disclosure of their genetic information.

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