Advances in genetic research have renewed attention on the workplace implications of genetic testing.
Genetic research has many potential benefits. Testing can help predict whether individuals are at risk of developing certain diseases, allowing them to take proactive steps to protect their health. As scientists begin to unlock the secrets of the human gene, for example, it’s becoming easier to predict who might develop cancer and who might not.
But there is growing concern that employers with access to genetic information may use it to discriminate. Plus, employees fear that health insurers may increase premiums—or even deny, limit or cancel insurance coverage—for people with certain genetic markers.
Indeed, limiting health costs appears to be a primary motivation for many employers to use genetic tests. Genetic testing also can improve (register to read more)—for example, by flagging conditions that might cause seizures in em...