Genetic Testing in the Workplace and Discrimination

Genetic Testing in the Workplace and Discrimination -...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Running head: GENETIC TESTING 1 Genetic Testing in the Workplace and Discrimination TUI University
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
2 GENETIC TESTING Genetic Testing in the Workplace and Discrimination In today’s society, technology is growing at speeds which have never been thought possible. Advances in computers and medicine have made technology, which before was seen only in science fiction movies, to an exciting yet alarming reality. As these technological advances in science become a part of society’s reality, so do the moral and ethical considerations of these great advances. One of the greatest advances in technology and medicine is seen in genetic testing. Just over 50 years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix, found in human genes. Since then, the science behind genetic testing has been growing and many advances were made due to federal funding for the Human Genome Project. Research in genetic testing has identified about 50 different genetic disorders thought to increase a person’s susceptibility to the toxic or carcinogenic effects of environmental agents. For example, individuals with the sickle cell trait may be at an increased risk for sickle cell anemia if exposed to carbon monoxide or cyanide. Exposure to lead or benzene can be hazardous to the health of individuals with the thalassemia gene (Andre & Velasquez, 1991). The current cost to map out the entire genome of one patient is about $2 million, however within 10 years the National Institute of Health predicts that it will decrease to about $1,000 (Spevak, 2007). As with most technological advances, there are significant risks of misuse and abuse of the relatively new science. The wonder of the science of genetics has a unique power to sway, seduce, and corrupt the course of human nature (Miller, 2007). As the science of genetics makes its way into the workplace setting, the question of discrimination due to genetic testing becomes extremely relevant. As scientific genetic research expands, the issue of how society protects its
Background image of page 2
3 GENETIC TESTING employees from misuse of genetic information becomes increasingly important. There should be a clear line between legitimate concerns about occupational health and safety and individuals’ fundamental rights of privacy and self-determination (Miller, 2007). The first real case of genetic testing in the workplace was in 2001, when Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (BNSF) agreed to stop testing its employees for genetic defects as part of a workplace discrimination settlement. The case began when a 45 year old truck maintenance worker from Nebraska applied for compensation after developing what he said was carpal tunnel syndrome. The company threatened to fire him after he declined to allow a doctor to do a blood test. The worker’s wife was a registered nurse, and asked the doctor why so much blood was needed for the sample. Until then, the company had been conducting the genetic tests without employees’ knowledge. BNSF had been conducting genetic testing to
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 06/21/2011 for the course HLTH 328 taught by Professor Campbell during the Fall '08 term at Indiana State University .

Page1 / 8

Genetic Testing in the Workplace and Discrimination -...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online