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Genetic Discrimination

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Genetic Discrimination

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Genetic Discrimination

Secret genetic testing at Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad lead the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a discrimination law suit against the company for potentially using the information obtained in these test against their employees. The Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) referenced the American Disability Act’s statement that “it is unlawful to conduct genetic testing with the intent to discriminate in the workplace” Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad claimed that the testing was a way of determining whether the high incidence of repetitive-stress injuries (carpal tunnel) among its employees was work-related. Besides testing for HNPP, company-paid doctors also were instructed to screen for several other medical conditions such as diabetes and alcoholism. In 2001 the case was settled in Federal court in the favor of the EEOC. New laws have emerged regarding genetic testing and the information derived from it, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), Wed., May 21 2008 President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) that will protect Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information when it comes to health insurance and employment. The bill had passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 414 to 1. The long-awaited measure, which has been debated in Congress for 13 years, it took effect on November 21, 2009. The law forbids discrimination on the basis of genetic information when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, or any other term or condition of employment, additionally under GINA, it is illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise “retaliate” against an applicant or employee for genetic purposes. The results of a genetic test are normally included in a person’s medical records. Therefore...

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