|Interfacial Dynamics of Science, Ethics, and the Biomedical Research Community.
Carl Bernofsky. Independent, 6478 General Diaz Street, New Orleans, LA 70124
The free radical mechanism by which metabolites of trichloroethylene may be involved in carcinogenesis was the subject of a federal grant received by the author following years of preparatory work and acquisition of specialized equipment. Ten weeks after notice of the award, he was terminated. A new department chairman had planned to dismantle his laboratory and end his position of 20 years. This could occur because 1) Federal law has exempted private institutions from the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment (Guillory, 212 F.Supp. 674), and 2) Labor laws in many states render unenforceable the provisions of faculty handbooks and other unilateral devices that private employers may offer as "contracts" (Schwarz, 699 So.2d 895). Additional factors are 3) Failure of professional organizations to adequately address civil rights issues in employment, 4) Idealistic expectations of the judicial process, and 5) Other concerns and responsibilities of scientists that distract them from the erosion of their rights. The author's experience (www.tulanelink.com) argues for implementation of ethical standards and for new legislation to define and protect rights that now exist only as elusive concepts.