Genetic Testing in Insurance and Employment


In the UK, use of genetic test results by employers is restricted by the Equality Act 2010, which restricts what employers can ask about in pre-employment medical checks. It means that employers can only ask for information that is directly relevant to the applicant's ability to carry out the work, or needed to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to enable a particular person to work there (as required by law).

This allays concerns that employers could use predictive genetic test results to decide who gets a job, an issue highlighted in a Joint Statement of Concern in 2006.

The EU's Lisbon Treaty also states (in Article 21) that any discrimination based on genetic features shall be prohibited in the European Union.

A voluntary moratorium, agreed between the UK Government and the insurance industry, also limits insurers' access to predictive genetic test results. However, this is a volutary agreement and it is unclear what will happen in the future. In 2023, the Government called for evidence about this, and the results of the consultation were published in 2024.

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