Genetic Discrimination Essay Sample
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 when a person applies for life, disability, or health insurance, the insurance company may ask to look at these records before making a decision about coverage. An employer may also have the right to look at an employee’s medical records. As a result, genetic test results could affect a person’s insurance coverage or employment. People making decisions about genetic testing should be aware that when test results are placed in their medical records.
The results of a genetic test are normally included in a person’s medical records. Although these laws appear to provide extensive protections, it’s possible they could have missed certain situations under which discrimination could occur. Not to mention these laws do not cover life insurance. A genome is the entire DNA in an organism, including its genes. Genes carry information for making all the proteins required by all organisms. Genetic discrimination occurs when people are treated differently by their employer or insurance company because they have a gene mutation that causes or increases the risk of an inherited disorder. People who undergo genetic testing may be at risk for genetic discrimination. Although I do feel genetic testing has its benefits for medical reasons such as disorders that are preventable or treatable from an individual’s personal perspective, as well as for diseases with no preventative measures. Since genetic testing provides vital information on the possibility of developing certain diseases in the future, people may want tests (especially if there is a family history) to help determine the chances of such diseases developing.
Family medical history may be acquired as part of the certification process for FMLA. However I do not believe genetic testing has any benefits within the work environment outside of Genetic information may be acquired through a genetic monitoring program that monitors the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace where the monitoring is required by law or, under carefully defined conditions, where the program is voluntary. Genetic information should never be requested by an employer or potential employer for genetic profiling situations outside of using the genetic information to provide preventative medical care, and should solely be voluntarily. For example, if a genetic test revealed that an employee was at risk for developing diabetes, an employer could refer the employee to an employee assistance plan that could recommend preventative measures that might actually decrease the odds of the employee developing diseases such as diabetes.
In addition to If employers were able to identify employees with genetic traits that make them unusually susceptible to developing diseases if exposed to workplace toxins or if engaged in specific activities, employers could make job assignments that would reduce these employees’ exposure to the suspect toxins or activities the potential benefits of proactive programs are obvious. It is also possible that insurance companies would discount instance premiums for employers who implemented these types of programs. Public fears about genetic discrimination mean that many individuals do not participate in important biomedical research.
Many individuals fear that they will lose their health insurance if it is proven that they are genetically pre-disposed to a disease. There is currently no legislation that gives comprehensive protection against all forms of genetic discrimination. Although now that the Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) has been enacted, Since the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) went into effect in November 2009, it has been important for employers of 15 or more people to understand and comply with the portion of GINA that applies to employers, Therefore the most part scenarios such as the one in the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad case have been legally abated.