Genetic Testing in the Workplace

Topics: Employment, Genetics, Human genome Pages: 5 (1616 words) Published: August 26, 2010


Genetic testing probably would not be a bad thing to some if it was controlled and monitored. By testing employees who voluntarily submit to participate, the results could have an everlasting effect on the medical community and even be beneficial to the person. Unfortunately, like everything else, there is no guarantee that one would not be discriminated against because of the results. With that said, some people are not willing to subject themselves to genetic testing in the workplace.

Everyday life has given us enough to worry about on the job or just looking for a job could be a hassle in today’s society. With the unemployment rate at one of the highest in years, people just want to be given the same opportunity as everyone else. You used to worry about what your co-workers thought about you on a daily basis or how the boss may feel about your performance. Without these two, our jobs would be less stressful, but now, we have to add the possibility of genetic testing to the equation.

One of our basic rights is the right not to be discriminated against because of color, creed, religion or race. Well, we may be able to recognize when we are being discriminated against because of our color or religion, but discrimination because of a genetic test is something different and new to many of us. Although many people have tried to fight and or still fighting the battle to make genetic testing in the workplace illegal, it still exists in some companies or corporations. There may not be many cases that have been fought or won against genetic test discrimination, but some felt it was necessary to implement laws and regulations against it. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was one of the first to try and protect against genetic test discrimination in the workplace. This Act alone can not cover every situation that may occur. Combined with this Act, there is also the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2003. Hopefully, the two may provide legal assistance to those who have been discriminated against because of genetic testing. So, no matter how one would like to look at this situation, discrimination might occur visible or not. Although, we may feel that it is unintentionally, discrimination may happen if genetic testing in the workplace was allowed. If companies or corporations were allowed to perform genetic testing on their employees or future employees, they may use the results in a negative way. One thing that concerns me about genetic testing in the workplace is discrimination. If allowed, companies or corporations will now be given another opportunity to discriminate against an employee or future employee. We can usually tell when we have been discriminated against when it comes to race or religion; the more obvious ones. Now, people have to worry about discrimination because of a test that can neither confirm nor deny if someone will develop a disease in the future. If a genetic test shows that an employee may have the possibility of contracting a disease on the job, the company may not offer the person insurance or a comfortable amount of insurance. This side of the act is negative. Just because a member may develop a disease, he or she should not be denied life insurance or a decrease amount. If a person applies for a job and is asked to submit to a genetic test, they may not get the job because they maybe at risk whether low or high of getting a disease because of their parents or grandparents. This decision is done solely to benefit the company or the life insurance company in question. Along with this, there are also other types of discrimination that a person may suffer. Another example of discrimination that can happen is job locality. A person may be denied a job in a prime location because of their...

References: Buckley & Klein. (2009). Genetic Testing in the Workplace? Meet GINA.
Duke, L. & Tech. Rev. 0015. (2002). Genetic Testing in the Workplace: The Employer’s
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