Kim Hill

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School



Genetic testing is a way in which mutations can be detected in DNA, proteins, and other parts of the human chromosome. By testing for these mutations, it may be possible to identify a predisposition for various forms of cancer, sickle cell anemia, and theoretically, any other hereditary disease. In the employment setting, the ability to forecast possible illnesses is accompanied by temptation for employers to make hiring decisions based on this information. Health insurance companies can also use the information for underwriting purposes.

In order to take preemptive action against the use of employee, or applicant information in this manner, the U.S. Government passed the Genetic Information Non- Discrimination Act (GINA). The act places restrictions on companies requiring genetic tests as a basis for employment, and prohibits any form of discrimination based upon information gathered from genetic tests. It also serves to protect those being considered for health care coverage from having their information used as a basis for increased health care premiums.

This paper will discuss some of the history of genetic testing and its use in employment decisions. The various possible dangers that arise in terms of race specific genetic disorders and the possibility for both disparate treatment and adverse impact will be investigated. Also, discussed in this paper are the opinions of prospective employees and their willingness to be subject to genetic testing for employment purposes, or even to apply for a job requiring these tests.