12 Fingers or One, It’s How You Play? Genetic Discrimination in the Australian Workforce

- Alternative Law Journal
Author/s: -Duffy, James
Journal: Alternative Law Journal
Year: 2010
Volume: 35
Issue: 3
Pages: 155
Start Page: 155

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.

URL: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/38988/