Genetic testing in the workplace

The impact on costs and ethics could be significant
By Todd Humber
|CHRR, Guide to Pensions & Benefits|Last Updated: 05/30/2003

O.J. Simpson hates genetic testing.

When evidence recovered from the crime scene of the grisly double murder of his former wife and another man was tested, it came back as a genetic match to Simpson and led to one of the most infamous court trials in history. That was 1994 and it marked the first time genetic testing entered the mainstream.

A lot has happened since then. Science has finished mapping the human genome and has a blueprint of human DNA, short for deoxyribonucleic acid, the protein-based building block of life. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, the groundwork has been laid for changes to the way diseases are detected and treated and this could have a significant impact on workplace benefit programs in terms of both costs and ethics.