September 28, 2005

"Nobody wants to see another Reggie Lewis.": But can the Bulls demand of Eddie Curry a DNA test for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as a condition of employment?

posted by Hugh Janus to basketball at 11:06 AM - 12 comments

What's next? Perhaps a visit to the "Assman". Thanks Seinfeld episode

posted by Richard j Garcia at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2005

I just don't understand this. If you were a sportsman with a potentially life-threatening illness, wouldn't you want to know about it? A DNA test might not be 100% accurate, but it would allow both Curry and the Bulls more information about his condition. We certainly don't want another Marc Vivian-Foe.

posted by salmacis at 01:15 PM on September 28, 2005

I'm on the fence on this one -- I think part of it is a matter of opinions between doctors. Curry's physician, "a leading cardiologist in LA," says the test is unnecessary -- I guess it's Curry's right not to go for a second opinion. And the idea that they won't sign him before knowing whether he has a rare heart condition that has a slim chance of killing him does have applications beyond the NBA. Not hiring people based on a full medical review? Not a bad idea if you run a company. Not legal, either. Would they have to test each player for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in order to include it in the routine requested examinations and tests? I agree that it's probably in his best interest to get the test done, and I bet his doctor agrees, too. But as a condition of employment, I think it stinks. Do they give these kinds of physical tests to the coaches before they are hired? They could drop dead, too, you know.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:41 PM on September 28, 2005

Yeah - that one's tricky. It cannot be a condition of employment.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:55 PM on September 28, 2005

this is a 2-edged sword. You (da bulls) keep him from playing, you get the "thats discrimination" label. Or you let him play, God forbid he dies from the condition, then you (da bulls) knew about it all along and you should have done something about it. I wish the best for him.

posted by RZA at 04:36 PM on September 28, 2005

They should not be able to obligate him to take a DNA test, in my opinion. But remember, neither can Curry obligate the Bulls to offer him a contract.

posted by sic at 06:45 PM on September 28, 2005

Supplemental reading: Sports Law Blog 09/28, Sports Law Blog 09/26.

posted by Amateur at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2005

I certainly would not feel comfortable having my employer tell me to take a DNA test because they are worried about their bottom line and insurance costs. Very illegal and immoral.

posted by jasonspaceman at 11:43 AM on September 29, 2005

Unfortunately, it is not illegal. It seems unethical to me and I know I don't want employers to start going down this path.

posted by bperk at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2005

On behalf of BNSF employees, EEOC argued that the tests were unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act because they were not job-related, and any condition of employment based on such tests would be cause for illegal discrimination based on disability. The lawsuit was settled quickly with BNSF agreeing to everything sought by EEOC. If it isn't illegal, why would the EEOC's arguments convince BNSF to settle?

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:33 PM on September 29, 2005

Sorry, my link should have been at a different point on the the page. I can only guess as to why they settled that case. In that case the facts were quite different because the testing was done secretly and was done on current employees who had submitted claims for work-related injuries. It is not illegal under federal law to require prospective employees (like Curry) to undergo genetic testing.

posted by bperk at 02:40 PM on September 29, 2005

Another aspect of this situation that could color the perception of the Bulls motivations is that they have offered Curry a very generous contract (considering the circumstances) which guarantees him 19 million dollars that can go up to 50 million dollars if certain incentives are met. The guaranteed money would be paid over 40 years if he is forced to retire due to his condition. That doesn't sound scummy at all.

posted by sic at 07:03 AM on September 30, 2005

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