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Employee Privacy Rights In The Workplace

1754 words - 7 pages

Employee Privacy Rights PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 7
Employee Privacy Rights in the WorkplaceBill WardAxia College of University of PhoenixCOM 120 Effective Persuasive WritingCynthia JonesApril 15, 2007Employee Privacy Rights in the WorkplaceThe developments made in biomedical technology and researches over the last few years have led to amazing advances in the detection of genetic diseases and conditions. Like with many ground breaking discoveries, there are concerns about how the technologies will be used. A major concern is the application of genetic testing in the workplace. Genetic testing in the workplace could be a vital tool for reducing costs for employers and insurance companies. This poses the question of whether an individual's genetic condition, or predisposition, could lead to workplace discrimination.When describing genetic testing there are two categories; genetic monitoring and genetic screening. Genetic monitoring is used to detect genetic abnormalities which can be caused by an exposure to workplace toxins (Macdonald & Williams-Jones, 2002). Monitoring for genetic changes is a way to check periodically if an individual has been exposed to a hazardous material, similar to using a radiation badge to check for radiation exposure. Genetic screening, on the other hand, can be used to determine if an individual has a hereditary trait that could manifest itself in a future health condition or disease. Screening can also be used to optimize drug therapies for an individual's medical treatment. The major concern with genetic testing is its possible use by employers in their hiring practice. The use of genetic testing by employers could save their company future financial liabilities by limiting their hiring to only particular individuals that carry no illness or disease related genes. Requiring workers or potential employees to submit to genetic testing also raises moral and ethical questions. For many individuals, forced genetic testing could be perceived as an invasion of privacy. Many workers might fear genetic information gathered will be used unfairly by employers to form the basis of hiring, promotion, termination, and health care decisions. Advocates of genetic screening argue it would reduce the number of incidences due to a workplace exposure, and that employers can use information obtained from genetic testing to ensure that employees are not placed in an environment that could be harmful. If that is the case, how do we limit how the employer uses that information? Critics of this technology maintain that screening violates workers rights and increases racial and ethnic discrimination in the workplace (Hurd, 1990). The possible legal and social issues of genetic testing are some of the reasons that the government has involved itself in this growing science. The Human Genome Project was a federally funded undertaking by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of health (NIH). The project was a 15 year...

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