Clinton Order Bans Genetic Discrimination
President Clinton today signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal agencies from considering a person's genetic information in hiring or promotion decisions.
The order, titled "To Prohibit Discrimination Against Employees Based on Genetic Information" also bars agencies from asking or demanding that employees undergo any sort of genetic test.
While the order only applies to federal workers, the federal government is the nation's largest employer with over 2.8 million workers.
The President has stated he hoped his order would add support for passage of "The Genetic Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance and Employment Act of 1999" which would extend federal genetic employment protections to the private sector.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The President stated that his order spoke to the ongoing erosion of personal privacy due to technological advancement.
"Today, powerful ways of technological change threaten to erode our sacred walls of privacy in ways we could not have envisioned a generation ago -- not just the ways, by the way, we're discussing here today," stated the President. "Will you ever have a private telephone conversation on a cell phone again? Can you even go in your own home and know that the conversation is private if you become important enough for people to put devices in your walls?
Clinton also stressed the importance of privacy of medical records. "But, clearly, people's medical records, their financial records and their genetic records are among the most important things that we have to protect," "Today, we move forward to try to make sure we do what we can to protect, in an important way, genetic privacy," stated the President.
Complete Text of Executive Order
"To Prohibit Discrimination Against Employees Based on Genetic Information" as published by the White House on 2/8/2000.
President Clinton's Remarks on Executive Order
Text of the President's address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2/8/2000.
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