Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, July-August 1995; 7(2):4
On March 15 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released official guidelines clarifying the meaning of disability as used in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The guidelines extend ADA protection to individuals who experience employment discrimination based on genetic information related to illness, disease, or other disorders.
Referring to the ruling as a positive step, National Center for Human Genome Research director Francis Collins said, ''the American people will receive the full medical benefit of genetic testing for predisposition to illness only when genetic discrimination barriers are lifted.''
The ADA defines a person with a disability as one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. Employers who make adverse employment decisions based solely on genetic predisposition are regarding the individual as having an impairment, which is covered in the third part of the definition. Thus, these employers would be in violation of ADA. [Copies of ADA Guidelines: Write to EEOC; Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs; 1801 L St., NW; Washington, DC 20507].
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