Apple Offers a Legally Risky Perk: Genetic Testing

by Evil HR Lady on December 19, 2019

The old perks of free lunch and onsite dry cleaning are moving aside for Apple’s new perk: Genetic testing.

Apple has onsite health clinics, and they now offer employees free genetic testing. This seems like a fantastic perk, but I’d be extra cautious about it.

It has a noble goal–turning healthcare from reactive to proactive. This is something most of us can appreciate. If you know you’re at risk for something, you can change your behavior or get treatment before it becomes a problem. However, the law makes this a risky endeavor, indeed.

In 2008 the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became law. This prohibits employers and insurers from discriminating against people based on their genetics. That is, you can’t say, “we won’t hire you or insure you because you carry a gene which indicates a high probability of colon cancer.” 

Employment attorney Jon Hyman explains when employers can gather genetic information:

To keep reading, click here: Apple Offers a Legally Risky Perk: Genetic Testing

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth West December 19, 2019 at 4:21 pm

WHAT

No. Just NO. Commercial DNA testing isn’t even all that accurate. And you know there will be awful managers who will use the information for nefarious purposes. Just hop on over to Ask a Manager and the terrible boss posts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see “My boss harassed/sidelined/fired me over my DNA results” on one in the future!

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Analyst Robot December 19, 2019 at 4:58 pm

I don’t foresee the doomsday scenario where companies are using genetic information to discriminate against employees. Millions of employees work for healthcare systems that technically have access to their health information and there hasn’t been an instance of employers pulling all the records to make employment decisions. (I would love to see the HIPAA fines on that!)
FYI, if you are predisposed to cancer or another genetic disease, then your doctor can order a DNA test for you. The price has dropped so dramatically that it’s becoming clinical best practice for many health systems. You don’t need to use 1-800-DNA.com hokum, just talk you your doctor and you may be able to get reliable results instead of “you like sweets but not pickles” findings.

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Texan In Exile December 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

What? I totally see it! I can see not hiring someone who has certain markers or who has certain health conditions now. I have no illusions as to the evil to which companies can and will stoop to increase profits.

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