The Fears of a Genetic Mutant

In Healthcare On

The legislation would enable companies to coerce employees into participating in wellness programs that could require them to undergo genetic testing and provide genetic information about themselves and their families. Although discriminating against workers with genetic abnormalities would be prohibited, it would be very difficult to prove that discrimination had taken place. Employers might simply invoke other reasons for hiring and firing decisions.

Even if the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act doesn’t pass, those of us with genetic mutations, as well as people covered by a similar provision in the Americans With Disabilities Act, now know the protections we received aren’t lifetime guarantees. They can be overturned, and some very powerful people would like to do so.

Bottom line? If Congress passes this law, it will be opening the door to state-sanctioned health discrimination. And if employers can get and act upon workers’ private health information, everyone will be in trouble, not just mutants like me. The overweight, pregnant, diabetics, people with high blood pressure or poor exercise habits — all could potentially be penalized.

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