Employees cannot be forced to participate in product testing or research experiments, as this may be a form of forced labour and may also expose the employee to unsafe working conditions.
No one may be subject to medical or scientific experimentation without their free consent. Product testing or trials on humans can seriously endanger and risk the health of human test subjects. Product testing on humans is a high-risk activity which can cause sudden death, disease, permanent disabilities and ailments and reproductive health risks.
Employees may only participate in testing or experimentation by giving their free and informed consent. Employment cannot be conditional upon a willingness to be tested or experimented on, regardless of whether that condition was agreed at the commencement of employment or at a later stage during their employment. Employees should be informed of the testing or experiments that will be undertaken and the risks involved in participating. They should be able to retract their consent at any time without fear of employment repercussions.
Illegal, unethical or discriminatory practices, such as the provision of misleading information to employees regarding the product, the testing procedure and the effect(s), terms and conditions – and the testing of products, including banned substances – can have a serious negative impact on the safety and well-being of the employee. Where employee remuneration or compensation is linked to participation in clinical trials and product testing, special consideration should be made to vulnerable employees, such as casual, seasonal or part-time workers, disabled people or indigenous employees, who may be motivated by the remuneration but do not fully understand the risks and potential long-term health implications.