Company Wellness Program Wins First Round

A U.S. District Judge in Minneapolis denied The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) request for an injunction against Honeywell, Inc. over their health screening policy that requires medical testing for employees and covered spouses by saying she “did not believe that Honeywell’s program would pose ‘irreparable harm’ to participants.”

Honeywell’s Wellness Program

Honeywell’s wellness program screens workers for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood-sugar levels, waist circumference and nicotine. Employees who fail to complete the testing are subject to monetary fines and lost contributions to health plans of up to $4,000.

Federal law bans employers from obtaining the personal health information of individual employees, but employers can use combined data to design programs to target specific health problems that can increase employer and employee health care costs.

The EEOC contends that the penalties make the testing involuntary and therefore violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

According to Honeywell, the policy promotes employee wellbeing and reduces healthcare premiums for healthy employees.

“We don’t believe it’s fair to the employees who do work to lead healthier lifestyles to subsidize the healthcare premiums for those who do not.”

The Decision

The District Judge stated, “What is better public policy and who is likely to succeed are not measures this court is prepared to decide…There are a number of fascinating issues for debate at a later time.”

The EEOC will continue to examine the charges the employees have filed against Honeywell.

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