Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can my boss refuse to provide medical insurance for me and my family if I can’t participate in the wellness program? Can an employer require disabled employees to go through biometric screening to receive health insurance? Do I have a claim for disability discrimination?
The increasing costs of providing health care insurance for employees has encouraged employers to become creative on how to foster a healthier workforce. A few days ago, our employment discrimination lawyers blogged about employers firing older employees to reduce health insurance premiums; and how that resulted in age discrimination.
In another effort to reduce health care costs, many employers nowadays pay employees to go on 5k runs, participate in weight loss challenges at work, and even provide gym facilities in the building for employees to use during their lunch hour. Employers, realizing the benefits of workplace wellness through less sick days and higher productivity, may go even so far as to make the participation in the programs mandatory. But, what happens if a disabled employee can’t physically participate in the program? What happens to an employee who is told to they won’t have health insurance if they do not take a biometric screening?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits an employer from discriminating “against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.” Privileges of employment and compensation include benefits such as salary, promotions, and health insurance. Health insurance is a benefit provided to all employees by an employer.
In a recent disability discrimination lawsuit against Nordic Group of Companies, Ltd dba Flambeau, the complaint alleges that the plastics manufacturing company violated the ADA by requiring employees to submit to mandatory biometric screenings through their workplace wellness program. Employees who failed to submit to the biometric screening were barred from receiving health insurance provided from the employer and had to pay for their own health insurance premiums.
Flambeau should be liable for a violation under the ADA because the biometric testing and health risk assessments mandated by the company were not job related nor were they a business necessity. A good example of a job related inquiry about health issues would be an employer asking if an employee is able to lift at least 60 lbs for a job that requires extensive manual labor, such as a stock employee at a factory. Flambeau’s program was not at all related to what an employee did at the factory, and it was a program that ended up taking away health benefits for employees who did not submit to the biometric screening.
An employee may refuse to submit to the biometric screening because they do not want to reveal information about their health to their manager or co-workers. They may have a disability that does not allow them to participate in an employer 5k or a biometric screening may reveal disabilities they wish to keep confidential. Employer wellness programs are beneficial, but only if the employer allows an employee to volunteer to participate. Wellness programs cannot be used by an employer as a tool reduce health care costs by eliminating chronically ill or disabled employees.
Having to live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Ohio employment law attorneys at 866-797-6040. The best option is not to wait. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
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