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Republican bill would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results

Mashable

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program. The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.


House Republicans would let employers demand workers' genetic test results

PBS NewsHour

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program. The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.


PRIVACY CONCERNS GOP-backed bill may help employers get genetic data

FOX News

House Democrats and a number of privacy advocacy groups came out against a House GOP-sponsored bill that would reportedly make it easier for employers to gain access to genetic information about their employees and their families. The New York Times reported Friday that the bill-- called the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act-- may also significantly increase the costs if someone chooses not to participate in a company wellness program that requires the genetic information. Fortune magazine summed up the bill: it "would essentially allow companies with workplace wellness programs to demand your genetic information (or force you to pay a big penalty.)" The bill was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill reportedly passed its first test in a committee vote that went straight down party line.


Corporate Surveillance Is Turning Human Workers Into Fungible Cogs

The Atlantic - Technology

Common wisdom tells us that, with time, science fiction soon becomes reality. The film Gattica depicted a world of technological advancements in genetic manipulation such that genetic enhancements for offspring are commonplace for who can afford it and employment is strictly dictated by genetic profile--thus reducing the "in-valids," that is, those without genetic enhancements to second class economic status in the labor market. Recent technological discoveries such as CRISPR, which allows for the editing of the human genome, may soon transport us all to that world. Hastening our arrival, is a recent piece of legislation, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, which is now making its way through Congress. That bill would allow employers to collect the genetic information of their employees through workplace wellness programs.


Connecticut Firm Pairs Autism Spectrum Clients and Employers

U.S. News

Autism and autism spectrum disorder are terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development often characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, according to Autism Speaks. ASD is estimated to affect more than 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide, according to Autism Speaks.