Dna Testing in the Hiring Process

Topics: Genetics, DNA, Ethics Pages: 11 (3867 words) Published: February 16, 2011
DNA Testing in the Hiring Process
5 Theory Approach

In modern society, businesses are always trying to improve their model, employees, and product. Companies naturally wish to hire the best employees they possibly can, and avoid those that might harm or hinder their growth. In the past of the United States, many companies have taken these aspirations so far as to incite legislation intended to protect the rights of individuals from those of a business. Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Equal Opportunity laws both exist to ensure that Americans are generally not denied employment due to circumstances beyond their fault or control (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). More recently, the idea of DNA screening has become a topic of interest in order for companies to use information gained from prospective employee’s genes to hire the best people for the job. To combat this idea, the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008 was established to prevent companies from taking advantage of science (and people) to further their own personal growth (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.). It is because of our society’s way of thought and concepts of right and wrong that laws such as these have been accepted into the United States government. Other ways of thought are possible however, and many are used in the world today. Some may even openly accept the concept of eugenics and DNA screening as they do have some benefits to either businesses or individuals, and perhaps society as a whole. Such ways of thinking include Ethical Fundamentalism, Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, Rawl’s Social Justice Theory, and Ethical Relativism. Each society that follows one of these ideals would see the idea of DNA screening in a different way and possibly alter the outcome for businesses and individuals that utilize the results of these screenings.

From a Utilitarian point of view, every individual’s purpose in business and in life is to better society as a whole (Halbert & Ingulli, 2009, p. 12). A pure utilitarian would view a business as an ideal vessel to represent their ideas about society and how it should function. In terms of hiring new employees, whether one is utilitarian or not, most businesses aspire to find the best additions to their staff. Due to this aspiration, many employers look for different ways to test the aptitude of their prospective employees. The hypothetical testing of prospective employees’ DNA to find potential genetic problems presents a complicated set of issues when approached from a utilitarian point of view. Since businesses would certainly adjust their hiring patterns based on these test results, these businesses, as well as their employees and society as a whole would experience different benefits and disadvantages if the DNA testing took place.

Based on the current laws in the United States, DNA screening by employers would most likely be considered an illegal breach of privacy according to GINA, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.). However, in a pure utilitarian society, these shields of individual’s rights would certainly be overlooked if society could possibly benefit. The issue with DNA screening quickly becomes one of job-loss rather than privacy invasion in this hypothetical society. It is not necessarily beneficial for all of society if a single business benefits from not hiring employees due to genetics. Those overlooked or fired because of their genes are then an un-tapped resource as they are unable to work at what they probably do best within their field. Again, from the viewpoint of the business and society, this screening would be seen more as a form of risk-management rather than an invasion of privacy.

In order to justify this exploration into a person’s DNA, the utilitarian society must determine if it is beneficial for everyone, including...
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