Can an Employer Cancel a Smoking Employee’s Coverage?

Jan 21, 2016

  1. Brian Anderson

    Brian Anderson Executive Editor

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    In the past few months a number of employers have taken action against employees for not participating in wellness programs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is litigating these matters on behalf of employees, but not necessarily winning all of them.

    The article linked below says that in one recent case in Wisconsin, the employer cancelled the health insurance coverage of an employee who was not willing to undergo employer-sponsored health assessment and biometric screening. The EEOC challenged this action in court saying that this action infringed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits the obtaining of personal health information and subjecting people to medical exams. But the Court held that this action did not infringe the ADA. EEOC is appealing.

    University of Michigan professor Samuel Bagenstos says the ruling is turns “voluntariness” on its head. "It would make it all but impossible to enforce the voluntariness requirement for requests for medical information. In that sense that is probably the wrong reading of the statute," according to the Bloomberg article.

    Employee Wellness Programs Not So Voluntary Anymore - Bloomberg Business