12 fingers or one, it’s how you play? Genetic discrimination in the Australian workforce

Duffy, James (2010) 12 fingers or one, it’s how you play? Genetic discrimination in the Australian workforce. Alternative Law Journal, 35(3), pp. 155-158.

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For quite some time, debate has raged about what the human race can and should do with its knowledge of genetics. We are now nearly 60 years removed from the work of Watson and Crick who determined the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), yet our opinions as how best to employ scientific knowledge of the human genome, remain as diverse and polarised as ever. Human judgment is often shaped and coloured by popular media and culture, so it should come as no surprise that box office movies such as Gattaca (1997) continue to play a role in informing public opinion on genetics. In order to perform well at the box office, movies such as Gattaca take great liberty in sensationalising (and even distorting) the implications that may result from genetic screening and testing. If the public’s opinion on human genetics is strongly derived from the box office and popular media, then it is no wonder that the discourse on human genetics is couched in the polar parlances of future utopias or future dystopias. When legislating in an area like genetic discrimination in the workforce, we must be mindful of not overplaying the causal link between genetic predisposition towards a disability and an employee’s ability to perform the inherent requirements of their job. Genetic information is ultimately about people, it is not about genes. Genetic discrimination is ultimately about actions, it is not about the intrinsic value of genetic information.

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ID Code: 38988
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Genetic Discrimination, Gattaca, Disability Discrimination, Genes, Employment Discrimination, Genotype, Phenotype
ISSN: 1037-969X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 07 Dec 2010 01:48
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:34

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