HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Genetic Testing in the Workplace: The Case of Eddy Curry

The story so far: Eddy Curry was, until Tuesday, a basketball player for the Chicago Bulls.  Last year, he missed the last 13 games of the regular season and the playoffs because of "a benign arrhythmia" (Yahoo/AP).  Pre-season is looming this year, and the Bulls' management wants Curry checked to rule out a potentially fatal condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that caused the death of at least two other high-profile basketball players (the Celtics guard Reggie Lewis and Marymount's Hank Gathers).  Curry submitted to exams by at least two cardiologists, who cleared him to play, but Barry Maron, described in the AP article as "a world-renowned specialist in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy," suggested to the Bulls that a genetic test for the condition might be useful.  The Bulls told Curry to get tested, Curry refused on privacy grounds, and on Tuesday, Curry was traded to the NY Knicks.

Newsday (and many others) is reporting today that the Knicks are putting Curry through a battery of tests to determine his fitness to start as their center, but not the genetic test recommended by Dr. Maron.  So far the NBA has been silent.  It will be interesting to see whether the leagure requires the Knicks to require the genetic test when David Stern returns to the country from a trip.  (See today's column by William C. Rhoden in the New York Times [requires paid subscription to view].)

As Jason Bobe observes, over at The Personal Genome, "[t]he main issues here are: (1) Should an employer be able to demand that an employee take a genetic test (and share the results)? (2) Should employers be able to make employment decisions based on genetic information?  (Editor: Answers aren't necessarily straightforward by the way, demonstrated by the sheer variety of reactions to the Eddy Curry case.  This is an excellent opportunity to work through the issues.)"  Jason has assembled a good selection of articles to start your research.  [tm]

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