The differing perspectives of workers and occupational medicine physicians on the ethical, legal and social issues of genetic testing in the workplace

Sherry I. Brandt-Rauf, Elka Brandt-Rauf, Robyn Gershon, Paul W. Brandt-Rauf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Genetic testing in the workplace holds the promise of improving worker health but also raises ethical, legal, and social issues. In considering such testing, it is critical to understand the perspectives of workers, who are most directly affected by it, and occupational health professionals, who are often directly involved in its implementation. Therefore, a series of focus groups of unionized workers (n=25) and occupational medicine physicians (n=23) was conducted. The results demonstrated strikingly different perspectives of workers and physicians in several key areas, including the goals and appropriateness of genetic testing, and methods to minimize its risks. In general, workers were guided by a profound mistrust of the employer, physician, and government, while physicians were guided primarily by scientific and medical concerns, and, in many cases, by the business concerns distrusted by the workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalNew Solutions
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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