genetic testing

Could You Be Fined For Refusing Workplace Genetic Testing?

 

A bizarre bill being floated in Washington could bring new meaning to the phrase “work/life balance” if passed.

The legislation itself has terrifying connotations for the privacy of the American workforce, as it would give employers the ability to fine workers who refuse to submit to genetic testing within the workplace, a practice being disguised by the notion of “workplace wellness” initiatives.  Those programs are normally aimed at educating employees in an effort to help them make healthier choices in their daily lives, and leveraging them against invasive genetic testing is absolutely unbelievable.

“Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a House committee this week becomes law, reports the Chicago Tribune.

“As it sits, employers do not have that power under existing federal laws that protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by a House committee would allow employers to get around that if the information is collected as part of workplace wellness programs, says the Tribune.

“The bill, Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, HR 1313, was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. A committee statement said the bill provides employers ‘the legal certainty they need to offer employee wellness plans, helping to promote a healthy workforce and lower health care costs,’ reports the Tribune.”

Could genetic testing in the workplace become the latest Orwellian concept introduced in America, or will Washington come to its senses and strike down this absurd bill?  The implications of this legislation would have a dire impact on the 4th Amendment that protects Americans against unlawful search and seizure, as well as possibly creating an entirely new avenue for discrimination based upon genetic makeup.

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