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Genetic pre-employment tests may be acceptable

Genetic pre-employment screening may be acceptable subject to certain criteria, according to a report on the results of a sociological research project, carried out by the Centre de Sociologie de la Santé de l'Université Libre de Bruxelles and published by the European Commiss...
Genetic pre-employment screening may be acceptable subject to certain criteria, according to a report on the results of a sociological research project, carried out by the Centre de Sociologie de la Santé de l'Université Libre de Bruxelles and published by the European Commission, Directorate-General XII - Science, Research and Development.

"Contribution to the analysis of the positions of trade unions and employers regarding genetic pre-employment tests" reports that the discourses of the unions' delegates and the employers interviewed reveal a fundamentally different approach:

- Trade unions are extremely reluctant to see genetic pre-employment tests applied or to refuse them categorically. For the most part, they fear the worst, taking into account the many pernicious consequences associated with the use of such tests:
- - An unrestrained selection on the right to work;
- - An unacceptable infringement on the right to work;
- - An acute deterioration of workers' conditions;
- - A reduction, if not a negation, of the notion of Man.
- Employers, although they have no a priori demand for genetic tests, favour them as long as:
- - They serve the economic interests of their firms;
- - They meet their moral responsibility with respect to their employees;
- - A law can protect their civil liability.

Although the study is based on the views of Belgian trade unions and employers, the authors:

- Reflect on the conditions and implications of transposing the Belgian enquiry to a European level;
- Consider the intervention of medicine in the regulation of work relationships;
- Make 22 recommendations for discussion by experts, decision-makers and all citizens.

Source: European Commission, Directorate-General XII

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