Since the beginning of 2005 and till the end of March of the same year, Eddy Curry, a celebrated player of the Chicago Bulls, was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat (benign arrhythmia) during his preparations for a basketball game against the Charlotte Bobcats. As a result, Curry did not participate in that game and also was cut from the rest of the season. The Chicago Bulls executives proposed further DNA testing, which he declined through his lawyer, stating the violation of state privacy and federal employment laws. This paper discusses whether DNA testing should be a pre-condition for professional athletes, analyses the relevant laws with regard to Curry’s case, discusses the ethical issues of DNA testing prior to employment and before engaging in plane piloting or operating dangerous machinery.
DNA Testing for Professional Athletes
DNA or genetic testing helps people to find out about their disorders and health tendencies. Health specialists can recommend genetic testing in a case where one has a family account of a certain hereditary disease, especially if an individual shows some signs of a disorder, or if he/she requests for the tests to learn whether one has certain genes one does not want to pass to his or her offspring (Menge, 2007). Menge (2007) argues that a carrier, the one who holds a predisposing gene, may be susceptible to the disease associated with it, but he or she may never develop it.
Thus, it is wrong to make professional athletes pass DNA tests. Such a condition will cause a violation of privacy and discrimination among those examined with predisposing genes or those deemed as carriers. Even in situations where those athletes would not develop the possible diseases, they would be denied a chance to exercise their potential. DNA testing, hence, can only take place if there are clear policies protecting the overall privacy rights of athletes or in extreme conditions, such as health concerns (Menge, 2007).
Laws on DNA Testing
There is no proper law on the privacy of one’s genetic information. Only federal and state decrees touch upon this issue. The Americans with Disabilities Act bans discrimination against individuals deemed qualified but with disabilities nonetheless. In the case of Eddy Curry, this Act would only help if he were tested and proven to be disabled but able to play; hence, the Act does not fully save him from undergoing DNA tests (Krishna, 2007).
Further, Executive Order 13145 (the extension of section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973), which outlaws genetic discrimination in federal employment by protecting facts about one’s genetic tests, is the best law in Eddy Curry’s case (Krishna, 2007). This Executive Order also outlines the cases under which Curry would be protected from the Bulls’ demands. This law, coupled with the fundamental rights (personal rights), shields Eddy Curry from disclosing his DNA information to the Bulls’ executives.
Ethics on DNA Testing and Employment
One should always treat medical information as personal. A major threat of disclosing DNA test results to employers is that they will use the information to discriminate against workers on the basis of future costs related to insurance covers and reduced efficiency due to potential diseases (Krishna, 2007).
That is why it becomes unethical for employers to suggest, request, or force employees to undergo a DNA test to find out about their viability or possible future problems. This would result to discrimination and the violation of the privacy rights of employees. Thus, an employee should use genetic information only for the sake of his or her own health and that of future generations by identifying any hereditary diseases.
DNA Testing for Plane Pilots and Machinery Personnel
DNA information involves one’s private medical data. DNA testing and information disclosure being a personal matter calls for extra measures in the employer-employee relations (Menge, 2007). The fundamental rights of individuals should always be upheld despite the disagreements related to the issue at hand.
In the case of piloting planes and operating dangerous machinery, it is recommended to carry out a DNA test, and to maintain privacy. In this case, a doctor running the test should make an official written recommendation on the suitability of an employee to such positions, disclosing only a general reason and not the actual results. In such a case, one should use the statutory and state-actors body Acts to protect the rights of an employee.
DNA testing among professional athletes is a debatable issue that calls for a thorough study. In the case of Eddy Curry, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Executive Order 13145 can help with the case. However, before judging the case, one should perform a careful analysis. The employer-employee relations on DNA testing and information disclosure are guided by both federal, statutory, and state-actor laws and acts. Fundamental rights especially to privacy prevail in most cases.