Most people can agree that workplace wellness programs are an excellent idea. Employees who participate in workplace wellness activities are generally more satisfied with their work and tend to lead healthier lives.
However, some organizations are running into problems because they require health tests in connection with their workplace wellness program.
Test Smartly Labs is definitely a proponent of workplace wellness testing as it has definite benefits for both employees and employers — but it needs to be done right. Here are the details your workplace should be aware of when implementing workplace wellness testing.
The Issue with Mandatory Testing
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Honeywell International based on the corporation’s workplace wellness program. The EEOC interprets Honeywell’s program as mandatory, and they argue that the practice is unlawful.
According to the terms of the program, employees and their significant others are required to undergo certain health tests. If they refuse, they are penalized with a health insurance premium surcharge of $500. They also forfeit contributions to a health savings account and may also face a tobacco surcharge of $1,000 for failing to complete a nicotine screening. The EEOC believes these facets of the Honeywell workplace wellness program violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How Organizations Can Avoid Similar Workplace Wellness Program Pitfalls
A carefully constructed workplace wellness program may be able to avoid these problems. Currently, there are conflicting tenets in the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act that make this difficult. The ACA encourages the use of rewards and penalties in wellness activities, but the ADA states that companies cannot discriminate against workers based on the state of their health.
Until these conflicts are clarified and resolved, it may make sense for employers to offer only rewards and to leave penalties out of the equation. Otherwise, they may find themselves facing a situation similar to the one being confronted by Honeywell.
Wellness Testing Done Right
Workplace wellness programs are beneficial for organizations and employees, but they are best when they are strictly voluntary and don’t penalize non-participants. Test Smartly Labs nationwide can help your organization develop and implement a non-discriminatory workplace wellness testing component that follows all state and federal laws!
To get started, contact your nearest Test Smartly Labs today.