Genetic Testing in Insurance and Employment
Use of genetic test results by employers will be restricted by the Equality Act 2010, which restricts what employers can ask about in pre-employment medical checks. It means that employers can only ask for information that is directly relevant to the applicant's ability to carry out the work, or needed to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to enable a particular person to work there (as required by law).
This allays concerns that employers could use predictive genetic test results to decide who gets a job, an issue highlighted in a Joint Statement of Concern in 2006.
The EU's Lisbon Treaty also states (in Article 21) that any discrimination based on genetic features shall be prohibited in the European Union.
A voluntary moratorium, agreed between the Government and the insurance industry, also limits insurers' access to genetic test results. However, it is unclear what will happen when the moratorium ends in 2019.
- Press Releases
- GeneWatch PR: Keep Genetic Testing Private - Health and Human Rights at Risk - say leading disability, health and human rights groups 14th February 2006
- GeneWatch PR: Gene test insurance deal inadequate: GeneWatch UK comment on announcement of deal between the Government and insurance industry 14th March 2005
- GeneWatch PR: Legal loophole allows genetic discrimination in the workplace. 25th September 2003
- GeneWatch PR: GeneWatch UK Response to Insurance Industry Announcement on Genetic Tests 23rd October 2001
- Genetic discrimination by insurers and employers: still looming on the horizon. 14th February 2006
- Genetic Testing in the Workplace 1st June 2003
- GeneWatch UK Submission to the Discrimination Law Review 7th August 2007
- Briefing 24: Genetic Testing in the Workplace: Creating a genetic underclass? 1st November 2003
- MPs' Briefing: Human Genetics No. 1 - Genetic Testing in Insurance: A New Form of Discrimination 1st October 2001
- Briefing 15: Genetic Testing in Insurance and Employment: A new Form of Discrimination 1st June 2001
- Nature: Why the 'devious defecator' case is a landmark for US genetic-privacy law (25th June 2015)
- The Science: If Canada does not act to protect genetic data, we could see the rise of genetic discrimination (19th May 2015)
- The Chronicle Herald: Weekend Focus: Health and privacy - what you know could hurt you (16th May 2015)
Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance (2014)
Also on the Government website..
- Department of Health: Agreement extended on predictive genetic tests and insurance (26th June 2012)
- ABI: Insurance Genetics Moratorium extended to 2017 (5th April 2011)
- The Times: DNA scan 'could cut cost of insurance - even if results kept secret' (28th March 2009)
- The Financial Times: ABI extends non-disclosure on policies (19 June 2008)
- The Guardian: New genetic tests era raises insurance fear (8th June 2007)
- USA Today: Insurers weigh testing for cancer genes (9th May 2007)
Human Genetics Commission
Genetics and employment section of their website
Genetic susceptibility and health at work
Inter-university Belgian site giving comprehensive information about genetic testing at work.
TUC Hazards magazine
Has a good section on genetic tests with latest news.