German Job Applicants: Genetic Testing in Your Future?

The British Medical Journal is reporting that there is draft legislation in Germany that some fear will enable genetic testing of job applicants for hereditary diseases.  This fear was raised by Spiro Simitis, head of the  German National Ethics Council, in a recent der Spiegel article.  Attention is focused on one clause in this piece of legislation [as translated by BMJ]:

"genetic examinations at the level of phenotypes will be allowed in as far as they permit an assessment of the [applicant’s] current suitability for a certain type of job."

How big of a net does "current suitability for a certain type of job" cast?  Not so big that it includes testing for hereditary diseases, but big enough that it includes testing, say, bus drivers for color blindess, according to one government official.

Jane Burgermeister, "Germany may allow employers to introduce gene tests for job seekers."  BMJ October 23, 2004.

German National Ethics Council can be found here.

Anonymous. "Gesetzentwurf ermöglicht Gentest für Job-Suchende" der Spiegel. October 9, 2004. [see Babelfish for translation]


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