Outlawing genetic bias in the workplace

Space-filling model of a section of DNA molecule

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Congress may soon make it illegal for companies to fire you because of your genes. And I'm not talking about denim pants. We're talking about genes that cause health problems. Eric Niiler has more from Washington.


ERIC NIILER: Many states already ban employers and insurers from collecting genetic information and using it in business decisions.

For the past 12 years, the Republican-controlled House blocked a wider federal ban. But yesterday, the proposal passed an important committee vote.

New York Democrat Louise Slaughter says people need protection from this kind of genetic bias.

REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER: The worst part is its so discriminatory. We know its taking place, we've got numerous instances where people have lost their job because someone in their family or maybe they had a gene that scared people to death.

Slaughter says some folks fear taking part in clinical trials, because they worry their genetic data will be released and used against them.

Business groups oppose the bill. They say claims of discrimination are overblown.

In Washington, I'm Eric Niiler for Marketplace.

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