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Congressional Committee Okays Forced Genetic Testing for Employees

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

We are still a few weeks shy of April Fool’s Day, but Congress is celebrating it early.  Using all the fuss about real-and-replace as a smokescreen, the Business Roundtable has gotten its allies in Congress to sneak in a bill allowing employers to require genetic testing in their wellness programs.  This will shock people, but genetic testing loses tons of money for employers, and vendors (in this case, specifically Aetna) lie about savings.

This article isn’t about the lies and the numbers, though. It’s about Congress giving employers basically unfettered rights to collect employee genetic information. You might recall there is a law that says employers can’t genetically test employees, or discriminate against employees on the basis of genes.  The idea of this new legislation is that law wouldn’t apply in the case of voluntary wellness programs. As we learned last year, the Business Roundtable “convinced” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that “required” and “voluntary” are synonyms. Consequently, employers can simply demand that employees submit to this or get fined.

The article, by intrepid reporter Sharon Begley (who also exposed the Wellsteps debacle with Boise), can be accessed here. Add comments to that article, since it is likely to be passed around more than TSW is.

In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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