EPL Insurance: Employers in Hot Water for Wellness Programs
When it comes to procuring the right insurance policies for their business, Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPL Insurance, should be a top priority. When it comes to employment practices, there are many different legal claims that your clients may face, including; racial or religious discrimination, sexual harassment, FMLA violations, unfair pay, wage and hour disputes, and other significant claims.
According to an article published by Employee Benefit News, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken an interest in employee wellness programs. This focus, however, has many health and benefit managers confused about what is acceptable when it comes to voluntary health screenings and incentive rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Earlier in October, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Flambeau, Inc. The reason for the suit was because the business allegedly violated federal law when it required employee Dale Arnold to complete biometric testing and a health risk assessment. Arnold did not complete these tasks, and as a result Flambeau apparently cancelled his medical insurance and pushed 100% of the premium payment onto Arnold, while employees that participated in the program were only required to pay 25% of their premium cost.
Flambeau is not the first company to get itself in legal trouble because of their wellness program. In August, a company called Orion Energy Systems allegedly fired employee Wendy Schobert after she declined to participate in the Wisconsin company’s wellness program. According to the EEOC, the program required medical examinations, which made disability-related inquiries.
Many experts say that there is a simple way for businesses to avoid being sued as a result of their employee wellness program. For example, Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, says, “Basically for a wellness and health program to comply with the ADA, it needs to be voluntary. When an employer requires someone to participate that’s a clear violation of the ADA.”
It may seem like simple solution, however many companies feel the push to require wellness programs due to the restrictions set forth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA encourages wellness programs and provides incentives to businesses that implement them, while it appears that the EEOC works against many employers and the ACA.
There may not be an easy answer, but one thing is certain; it’s essential that your clients be protected from a lawsuit resulting from employment practices issues with the right EPL Insurance Policy. At PL Risk, we understand how important it is to address the needs of employees, in order to mitigate loss that may result from an EPLI Claim. We invite you to take a look at each of our programs, and discover more about how we can help meet your clients’ needs. Please give us a call at (855) 403-5982.