Does the ADA Provide Protection Against Discrimination on the Basis of Genotype?

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 23 (2):167-172 (1995)
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As a consequence of the problems caused by genetic discrimination, federal and state law makers are being pressured to pass a legislative remedy. A primary question is whether the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applies to individuals with a potentially disabling genetic disorder who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic and may never become ill and to healthy individuals who are carriers of genetic conditions. At present, this question has relevance principally for individuals with the genotype for single gene disorders, like Huntington disease and hemochromatosis, and to asymptomatic carriers of single gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Although many such single gene conditions exist, the total incidence of these conditions in the U.S. population is less than 0.4 percent. However, the question concerning the applicability of the ADA will become increasingly important because genetic tests will almost certainly be developed in the near future for common multifactorial diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer.



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