Workers Could be Penalized for Refusing Genetic Testing

Workers who refuse to undergo genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs could face significant penalties from their employers under a bill approved by a U.S. House committee.

Existing federal laws protect genetic privacy and discrimination, but the bill passed last week by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would allow employers to bypass those rules if the information is collected as part of a workplace wellness program.

Such programs are increasingly popular and employers can get large health insurance discounts for workers who voluntarily participate in a program where they have to meet certain health goals.

The bill -- which is under review by other House committees and would also have to be considered by the Senate -- has been heavily criticized by House Democrats and a large number of organizations, the Post reported.

Nearly 70 consumer, health and medical groups -- including the American Academy of Pediatrics, AARP, March of Dimes and the National Women's Law Center -- sent a letter to the House committee expressing their opposition to the bill.

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