What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing is also called DNA testing. It is a medical screening procedure that detects changes in genes to identify one’s vulnerability to suffer from inherited illnesses (Pupecki, 2006).
Benefits of genetic testing
There is one benefit of genetic testing. It enables one to know his genetic status. If one has a gene alteration he/she can seek available monitoring, prevention and treatment options. In Rieger’s case, the testing offered him early detection of the disease. That would help him find medications based on informed decisions aimed to handle the symptoms of Huntington’s disease and prevent the mental, physical and behavioral decline associated with it before it was late.
Drawbacks of genetic testing
There are many drawbacks of genetic testing. 1) People found to have genetic disorders are prone to discrimination, ridicule or prejudice from other people. At the workplace, employers would not want to hire employees that have genetic disorders because they pose risks and they are a liability because their work performance can be compromised by their disorders. Concerning Reiger’s case, management of Danville Airlines made a decision to relieve him of his duties, despite the lack of manifestation yet he was still fit to fly. 2) DNA profiles related to certain diseases would be used by insurance companies and other organizations to disadvantage the victims. Insurance companies are unwilling to offer their services to people with abnormal gene disorders because any resultant hazard may generate potential high premiums which are not suitable for business. In Reiger’s case, many insurance companies may limit the type of insurance cover he might take due to his possibility of contracting the disease in future. 3) A positive genetic test result makes the victim aware that they are a carrier of a harmful disease. This leads to high levels of depression in their life. Reiger was still mourning the death of his father who had succumbed to the disease. There is likelihood he might have emotional distress, low self-esteem and self-pity after being informed that he had a high chance of suffering from Huntington’s disease in future (Arribas-Ayllon, Sarangi, & Clarke, 2013).
What if it was technically legal for Danville to test Reiger without his consent?
Danville Airlines had a right to do so if it was legal to test Reiger without his consent. Although Reiger did not have the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, there was a possibility that he would suffer from the disease inherited from his father. Huntington’s disease is a physical and mental debilitating disease that affects movement, cognitive and psychiatric ability. Employees have their rights to privacy, but the safety of passengers must be considered first. Danville Airlines would be right to do the genetic testing to explore this complicated issue out of practical and legitimate concerns (Wolkinson, 2008).
What if it was illegal?
Danville Airline still had the right to test Reiger without his consent even if it was illegal to do so. It was still necessary because if Reiger could have developed the symptoms while flying a plane it would have risked the lives of all passenger on the plane. It would damage the reputation of Danville Airlines and result in losses from the high costs incurred. That would have been a display of negligence on Danville Airline’s part and it would face major lawsuits from families of the victims (Wolkinson, 2008).
Assuming that Danville’s attorneys say the law is ambiguous
If Danville’s attorneys say the law is ambiguous, the company still had the right to test because they could have argued that the testing was crucial for the company to ensure high quality of its services to customers, and that the law did not specify if the action was illegal or not (Wolkinson, 2008).
In light of the 1974 Privacy Act, Danville Airline’s action violated Reiger’s right to privacy. The genetic testing test was done without Reiger’s consent and they were illegal. The action also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Danville Airline’s intention to relieve him of his duties is unconstitutional according to the Americans with Disabilities Act because his condition was not dangerous and it could not render him disabled or incapable of performing his duties at the time the test was done. The airline’s plan to terminate his employment on grounds of disability would be unlawful (Cihon & Castagnera, 2010).
The knowledge that Reiger lost his father to Huntington’s disease and that he has a 90% chance of developing the same condition does not make a difference in my decision. The testing and the measures done by Danville Airlines were unconstitutional (Wolkinson, 2008).
Recommendations for Julie Taylor
The best recommendation that Julie Taylor would have made was for Danville Airlines to offer Reiger compensatory damages for acting against his will and transgressing his right to privacy. Moreover, Danville Airlines should have offered Reiger another job related to his former one, but less demanding in terms of mental and physical capabilities. This would have been in the best interest of both parties (Cihon & Castagnera, 2010).
Online Homework Help . (2014, June 15). Danville Airline. Retrieved from University of Virginia:
Arribas-Ayllon, M., Sarangi, ., & Clarke, . (2013). Genetic Testing: Accounts of Autonomy, Responsibility and Blame. London: Routledge Publishers.
Cihon, P., & Castagnera, . (2010). Employment and Labor Law. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Publishing, D. B. (2004, June 15). Danville Airline. Retrieved from University of Virginia: <http://studentoffortune.com/question/439355/Case-study-for-Human-Resource/766014-Danville_Airlines.pdf>
Pupecki, S. R. (2006). Genetic Screening: New Research. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Wolkinson, B. W. (2008). Employment law: the workplace rights of employees and employers. Lansing: Michigan State University.