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genetic testing work place? EXPECTATIONS: Please read: Genetic Testing Future Disability Insurance: Thinking Discrimination Genetic Age Paul Steven Miller. The Journal Law, Medicine & Ethics.
Genetic testing in the workplace
There is presently much controversy regarding genetic testing in the workplace, as even though it is not yet a common occurrence, employers appreciate the fact that it is very likely to assist them in experiencing as little loss as possible. Genetic monitoring and genetic screening have come to be two of the most important tools that an employer can use in order to determine whether an individual is or is not suitable for a certain job. Although one might consider that genetic testing in the workplace is a very effective form of settling on a candidate's appropriateness for a particular job, people fail to understand that the matter is much more complex and that it is possible for this technique to generate further issues or even to traumatize the candidate. Employees should look into this situation and come up with a solution likely to have no negative effect on job candidates.
The contemporary society is filled with discrimination and the technology available today makes it possible for genetics to stand as yet another decisive factor influencing differentiation. The technological advancements experienced by the world of genetics in the recent decades are groundbreaking, as people can presently understand everything about the human body through genetics. While genetics have made it possible for doctors to detect and even to prevent disorders, it is also possible for them to be used as a reason to discriminate. People have come to be the result of their genetics and in some cases their abilities have come to be measured on account of their genetic maps. Depending on their genetics, individuals presently know what they are and what they are not predisposed to. A person who knows that he or she is likely to suffer as a result of being exposed to a particular environment can refrain from doing that and can choose the atmosphere that he or she is going to work in depending on his or her characteristics. While this is obviously beneficial for the individual, it also presents employers with an extra reason that they can use to deny someone the right to work in a certain workplace. "A 1996 survey of individuals at risk of developing a genetic condition and parents of children with specific genetic conditions identified more than 200 cases of genetic discrimination among the 917 people who responded. The cases involved discrimination by insurance companies, employers, and other organizations that use genetic information" (Genetic Information and the Workplace). Given that it is natural for an employer to want to achieve maximum efficiency, people today have come to be employed on account of more than just their physical and mental abilities, as some are chosen depending on their likeliness to develop a particular disease in the future (Miller).
With more and more employees starting to consider that genetic testing should be an essential step in the employment process, people start to feel uncertain about their abilities and less willing to attempt to get hired in an environment that they believe to be in disagreement with their genetics. Also, individuals that have the qualification and the experience to work in a particular workplace are being denied the right to get hired as a result of their genetics. "Bigoted notions of the underlying causes of class, social, and biological differences attributed "undesirable" characteristics to heredity. This in turn led to the misguided theory that humanity could be perfected by encouraging offspring for "the fit"6 and discouraging or prohibiting reproduction by "the unfit" (Miller).
In spite of the fact that some might come to believe that genetic testing is immoral, it is, in fact a very efficient method of reducing costs in a company. It is perfectly natural for an employer to refuse to employ someone who he or she knows is physically unable to perform well in a certain job. Although particular candidates can consider that this discriminates them directly, it actually benefits both the employer and the potential employee. By denying a person the right to work in a toxic or radioactive environment because of the respective individual's predisposition to develop a medical condition as a consequence of his or her interaction with the environment, an employer practically prevents the candidate from becoming seriously ill. Concomitantly, the employer makes sure that the company does not experience financial drawback as a result of losing an essential worker.
It is perfectly normal for an employer to want effectiveness in his or her company, but it is not normal for him or her to want perfection from employees. Surely, it is absurd for someone to refuse to hire a person on account of the fact that the respective individual is predisposed to contract a malady in the future. When this malady has nothing to do with the workplace and when the employee would become ill even if he or she refrained from getting hired, it would, indeed, be immoral for an employer to deny him or her the right to work in the company that he or she is in charge of. "Research to date has identified about fifty genetic disorders thought to increase a person's susceptibility to the toxic or carcinogenic effects of environmental agents" (Andre & Velasquez). It would be abnormal for an eligible job candidate to be refused on account of a genetic condition that does not concern his or her susceptibility to toxic or carcinogenic effects of environmental agents present in the workplace that he or she is interested in.
Technological advancement is not always beneficial for society as a whole, as it can, in some cases, serve as a tool for discrimination. People have to understand that it is wrong for them to want perfection and that it is in the human nature for them to be imperfect. If the general public were to guide itself based on the "survival of the fittest" concept, most individuals would end up on the streets. It is wrong to deny an individual the right to work in a company because he or she is predisposed to contracting a disease. As long as the malady does not develop as a result of the work environment and as long as the individual is perfectly qualified to occupy the position in question, he or she should be hired. According to Andre and Velasquez, "390,000 workers contract disabling occupational diseases each year; 100,000 of these workers die." This is one of the main reasons for which some employers prefer to use genetic testing in the workplace as an important factor in employing individuals.
Even though it might seem that discrimination based on genetics does not affect society negatively, reality is different. Genetics have stood as the reason for which great atrocities have happened, with the emergence of the eugenics movement being one of the most representative elements displaying the effects of genetic discrimination. The eugenics movement is responsible for having performed acts such as the "like the forced sterilization of convicted felons and the mentally ill9 and fueled the anti-immigrant sentiments of the early 20th century.10" (Miller). This happened because some people understood the concept of genetics wrong and considered that it would be abnormal for genetically flawed individuals to continue to live on.
It is difficult to determine whether or not employers find it easier to employ genetic tests as an employment requirement. While it seems easier for them to select only the individuals likely to perform better at the workplace, the matter is more complex. On the one hand, discriminating a candidate can bring on expensive suits and the company can lose significant amounts of time and money. On the other hand,…[continue]
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