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Australia: Workplace gene testing fears
Genetic testing of employees could become more widespread and people need to be better informed of their rights to avoid genetic discrimination, experts have warned. The comments followed publication of a world-first study revealing that genetic discrimination has already occurred in Australia, with most cases related to life insurance policies.
Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 397
Hazards news, 14 March 2009

Britain: Genetic testing “must be regulated”
Genetic testing by employers must be regulated, unions say. Gill Dolbear, vice-president of radiographers’ union SOR told delegates to TUC’s congress: “Without realistic and enforceable controls, employers and insurers will rely on self-regulation.”
SOR news releaseHazards genetic screening web resources
Hazards news, 15 September 2007

USA: Move towards workplace gene screen ban
A bill that would prohibit genetic discrimination against people, for instance not hiring or insuring someone predisposed to a given illness, has won overwhelming approval in the US House of Representatives. The measure now goes to the Senate, which has consistently supported this type of legislation.
Genetic non-discrimination in employment: A comparison of Title II Provisions in S. 358 and H.R. 493, 110th Congress, 2 May 2007 [pdf]US National Human Genome Research InstituteHazards genetic screening webpages
Hazards news, 19 May 2007

Global: Gene screens have no place at work
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is to warn employers not to use genetic information relating to their employees to discriminate in the workplace. A report published on 10 May and to be discussed at the International Labour Conference in late May widens the scope of the usual equality debate, covering new forms of discrimination including genetic testing in hiring.
ILO featureEquality at work: Tackling the challenges, Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at WorkHazards genetic screening webpages
Hazards news, 19 May 2007

Britain: Watchdog calls for bar on genetic discrimination
The government's advisory body on genetics has said new legislation is needed to stop workplace and insurance discrimination on genetic grounds. “The essential thing is there should be no genetic judgment of whether somebody is appropriate for any job, with rare exceptions possibly,” said Sir John Sulston, the vice-chair of the Human Genetics Commission.
Risks 244, 18 February 2006

USA: IBM rejects genetic screening at work
IBM, the world's largest computer maker, has pledged not to use genetic data to screen employees and applicants in what it said was the first such move by a major corporation.
Risks 228, 15 October 2005

USA: Senate passes ban on genetic discrimination
The US Senate has unanimously approved legislation to bar health insurers and employers from discriminating against people with a genetic predisposition to disease. The bill, which still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it can become law, would ban employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on genetic information.
Risks 196, 26 February 2005
Germany: Are your genes up to the job?
Top level consideration of a law that would allow limited genetic testing for employees is causing consternation in Germany. In jobs such as construction or public transportation, the law would allow for genetic testing for symptoms of colour blindness among other things.
Risks 180, 30 October 2004

GLOBAL: Surveillance in the workplace
If employers have their way they will soon be testing more than your patience. Companies are becoming more and more keen on alcohol, drug and genetic testing at work. They monitor your email, your phone calls, your work rate and your whereabouts. Hazards warns this scrutiny is a dangerous distraction that will be bad for your safety and privacy, and argues it may be their company, but your body is your business. More
USA: Senate backs ban on genetic discrimination at work
The US Senate has voted with an overwhelming majority to approve legislation that would prohibit companies from using genetic test results to make employment decisions, deny health coverage or raise insurance premiums.
18 October 2003 More
EUROPE Unions say nothing justifies workplace gene screening Unions say nothing justifies workplace gene screening Europe's top union body ETUC has called for a ban on genetic screening in the workplace.
1 November 2003 More
actu logoAUSTRALIA: Hands off our genes!
Australia's unions say employers should 'be prohibited from requiring, requesting, collecting or disclosing information derived from genetic testing of current or potential employees.'
19 January 2002 More
tuc logoUK: Ban unfair screening
TUC says "we oppose susceptibility screening as this will remove the emphasis on an employer's legal duties to make the workplace safe for all."
19 January 2002 More
Gene tests for strain susceptibility "illegal"
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has told Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad that its use of secret genetic testing of some employees violated federal law.
28 July 2001



Gene machine: Not perfect? One day soon it may cost you your job. As the gene testing gadgets become a wrong headed but affordable option, more employers are expressing an interest.
Gene machine, Hazards special report and Hazards, issue 84, October-December 2003

TUC genetic discrimination imageBRITAIN: Work is no place for genes prejudice
The law needs to be changed to prevent employers from refusing people jobs on the basis of genetic test results, campaigners have warned. TUC has teamed up with GeneWatch UK and the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP) to call for legal measures to block genetic discrimination at work.
27 September 2003, More


No more working weak?
In February 2001, scientists announced they had mapped out the entire human genetic code. Medics were elated, predicting remedies for deadly diseases; the press latched onto every promise of "golden bullets" and "miracle cures". The news was less rosy for the workforce, though, as employers and insurers saw an opportunity to winnow out the weak or susceptible from the workplace.

Hazards 74, April-June 2001 [pdf format]

NYCOSH logoDisability rights and genetic screening
Extensive list of links from the union-backed US New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).

NYCOSH links
Workplace Rights LOGOACLU on genetic discrimination at work
The American Civil Liberties Union dispels some myths about genetic tests in the workplace and highlights the dangers.
ACLU genetic discrimination in the workplace

National Workrights Institute on genetic discrimination National Workrights Institute on genetic discrimination Our collective knowledge of human genetics and its impact on our health is growing at an astonishing rate. Unfortunately, one of the immediate consequences of this development is the increased threat of discrimination, with employers unwilling to hire workers identified as at risk from certain conditions.
National Workrights Institute

HSE logoOfficial UK working group says "no" to gene screening
A UK Health and Safety Commission working group concluded genetic science was not yet far enough advanced to use genetic screening as a reliable and accurate predictor of a predisposition to occupational ill health.