Lawsuit Challenges Forced Participation in Employer-Offered Wellness Program

An employee of the Wisconsin-based Orion Energy Systems Inc. was first fined and then fired for her refusal to participate in the company's wellness program.

Orion Energy Systems Inc. (OESX) was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly punishing, then firing, a worker who refused to participate in a company wellness program.

The complaint filed today in Green Bay, Wisconsin, federal court is the first to challenge a wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC said in a statement. Orion, a maker of energy-efficient lighting systems, is based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

While most Americans approve of programs offered by employers to promote healthy behavior, a majority says it’s not appropriate for employers to require people who don’t participate to pay higher premiums, according to results of a June survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit health-care research organization.

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Source: Bloomberg