Discrimination of gender, race in labor market has been a chronic problem in industrialized periods in United States. The advance of genetic technology produces a new kind of discrimination, genetic discrimination. In the article “Gene mapping may foster discrimination”, Paul Racer pointed out that a survey revealed “7 companies are using genetic testing for job applications or employees”, according to the journal Science. However, I think it may cause public fear for genetic tests and researches and can be exploited to discriminate candidates.
For one, since the public already have a skeptical attitude toward genetic engineering, the risk of future exploitation of personal genome, may cause some people to refuse taking genetic tests, and may drop off from genetic research programs, and then delay the progress of science. For another, although it is a great step to discover the relationship between gene and disease, the relationship itself is still a “possibility” of certain illness, and everybody would has some genes vulnerable to this or that diseases, and the decision of denying a qualified candidate by a kind of disease can be exploited to discriminate candidates.
After these analyses, I will be glad to see a genetic factor appear in next “Civil Rights Act” to prevent the abuse of genetic test in employment process, but State Laws acted faster than Federal Laws. As of 2001, according to David C. Bowen, Ph.D. and Nancy Segal, JD, 28 states have passed laws on genetic discrimination in employment and 34 have prohibited insurance discrimination” (Bowen, D. C. and Segal ,N. , 2001). These step may help people to get rid of the nightmare of genetic discrimination and change the attitude toward genetic test and researes. Still, we should always keep the genetic test results from employers and insurance companies, who may exploit the result to discriminate people.
Bowen, D. C. and Segal ,N.(2001) The DNA Code Meets The United States Code: Legal Protections Against Genetic Discrimination , Harvard Health Policy Review <http://hcs.harvard.edu/~epihc/currentissue/Fall2001/bowen.htm>