Genetic testing and screening is a medical technique used for testing existence of genetic disorders through a thorough screening of the DNA molecule of the involved person. This screening is meant to identify any symptom of the genetically heredity diseases or the potential of inheriting such diseases. The process is helpful to both those with or without any illness symptom whereby those who have no signs of sicknesses are able to know if they or their siblings and children are prone to suffering from any critical disease in the future. The process also enables those tested positive to undertake an early medical care as well as plan on how they could prevent the disease passing to their children either by deciding not to have children or seek adoption.
Genetic screening and testing despite being helpful in determining the health risk of the vulnerable population, it has negative effects as it forms a basis for discrimination both at work and in real social life. Those found positive from hereditary diseases have fear of losing their jobs or cut out from insurance covers if their employers or insurance companies found out about the disease. In case of Reiger, the testing helped him undertake early medical assistance as well as establish a decision on whether to have children if the test was positive considering the genes were to be passed to his children. It also enabled him to establish work terms with the airline to avoid any controversies of sacking him due to his genetic disease which had not taken effect to tamper with his work capabilities.
If genetic testing without the involved person’s consent was legal, Danville had the right to test Reiger as a form of protective measure against any incidences associated with the disease syndrome especially after they had learned that his father had died of a genetic disease (Huntington disease). The illnesses are associated with memory loss, jerking behavior and physical body incapability and if the pilot developed these symptoms while at work, there is a possibility of fatal aircraft crashing. Therefore, the test would help the airline’s management to plan on the copilot to allocate to Reiger who was on air four times a week and also plan out his schedule which had short flight hours to reduce fatigue or else assign him on different duties which did not require flying .
If the testing was illegal, it is advisable for Danville to first contact the person and get his consent before performing the genetic test. This is because the test findings may complicate the relationship between the person and the company whereby the person involved may file for violation of privacy by the company. The company could however perform the test only if the information was to be kept confident even from the involved person and used only for the safety precaution.
On the basis when the company thinks that the lawsuit is expensive, they should not pursue with the testing process and if the test results are already out, then they should adhere to the terms that Reiger had proposed which involves letting him continue with his duties as he was not suffering from the disease yet.
Privacy Act of 1974 is one of the regulations that could protect Reiger from being tested by the company without his consent. The law states that a person’s private information should not be disclosed or retrieved but only if the owner gives such permission. Thus, Reiger could use this Act to file for compensation from Danville airline on basis of invasion of privacy. (b) The Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) prohibits employers to use the genetic information in making employees decision in place where the actual diagnosis for a disease has not been established. This is the similar scenario that Danville is facing whereby Reiger only tested positive for having genes which could lead him into developing Huntington disease in the future. Therefore, this Act protects him from being fired or discriminated against at work or by the insurance company since he does not suffer from the disease currently.
The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the other hand protects employees against discrimination from employers on the basis of their actual or potential mental or physical disability. Reiger has genes with potentiality of developing physical and mental disability in the future and hence he is prone to be fired from his job. Therefore, under the ADA Act, Reiger could sue the company if they make a move to fire him on the basis of his medical situation yet he is currently working perfectly with no record of work mistakes or irresponsible actions.
The knowledge on the cause of death of Reiger’s father does not affect the decision since despite being a hereditary disease, the latter has no symptoms of the disease and also conducting the test without his consent further complicated the decision making process.
The best recommendation that Taylor could suggest is encourage the management come in terms with Reiger to change his current job position which does not require him to travel a lot. This is due to the concerns that the company have on the risk of accidents that could occur in case the pilot lost control of the machine. The company should not fire him since it is both illegally and unethical to fire a person simply because they have a potential of getting hereditary disease in the future.
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