Wellness programs are a great way to boost employee morale and promote the whole work and life balance at an organization. But could financial incentives for a wellness program be a negative issue for employees with disabilities?
According to a recent court ruling in Broward County, Florida: It is not a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for an employer to require employees to participate in a wellness plan, or face a $20 surcharge on insurance premiums.
As stated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, “The wellness program is not a subterfuge; it was not designed to evade the purpose of the ADA. Rather, it is a valid term of a benefits plan that falls within the ambit of the ADA’s safe harbor provision.”
Related to this case on wellness program incentives in the past, the EEOC has loosely suggested that any wellness program that is mandatory or involves a penalty violates the Act.
While no guidelines have been issued at this point, employers and HR should be cautious and check with a legal expert about this wellness incentive.