02/08/2015 // Dallas, Texas, United States // Attorney Keith Clouse // Keith Clouse // (press release)
Over the last decade, many employers began offering employees the opportunity to participate in voluntary wellness programs. These programs encourage employees to take preventative steps to maintain their health and to make lifestyle decisions that will manage existing health issues and prevent those issues from becoming more serious and more costly. But, these programs come with potential risks for employers.
• Americans with Disabilities Act issues. The ADA makes it illegal for employers to ask employees and potential employees disability-related questions unless the questions are job-related.
• Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act problems. GINA imposes limitations on what genetic information an employer may request or require an employee to disclose.
• Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The ADEA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee based on the employee’s age. A wellness program may need to make allowances for differences in health conditions of older employees if the program requires workers to obtain a certain result (such as a particular cholesterol count) before benefits apply.
For these reasons, an employer would be wise to seek legal review before implementing a wellness program. This article is presented by the Dallas employment attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP. To speak to an employment law attorney, send an email to [email protected] or call (214) 239-2705.
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