University of Akron Wants Employee DNA


From one of CBS News’ “Taking Liberties” blog: Want A Job In Akron? Hand Over Your DNA

It’s not unusual for employers to conduct criminal background checks during the hiring process. But the University of Akron has taken this to a surprising new level.

The Ohio school now reserves the right to require any prospective faculty, staff, or contractor to submit a DNA sample, which genetic-testing experts say makes it the first employer in the nation to take such an extreme and potentially intrusive step.

Why on earth is a university taking a step that seems to violate the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act? The explanation offered by the University (outlined in the CBS blog entry) isn’t very convincing. Generally, policies of any kind are implemented in response to a recurring problem. And U of Akron doesn’t seem to be able to be clear about just what that problem is, let alone make the case that it’s a problem sufficiently grave to warrant massive invasion of employees’ genetic privacy.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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