Chasing Our Tails

Though it’s not of great import, this story about the ACA conflicting with Americans with Disabilities Act is too good to pass up.

The Cliff Notes version is that the ACA allows companies to offer financial incentives to employees who participate inworkplace wellness programs. You know, obesity, smoking cessation programs, etc. The quid pro quo to the financial incentives, which can amount to thousands of dollars, is that participants are monitored and tested to make sure their claims to abstinence are true. Well, that runs headlonginto the American with Disabilities Actwhich says you can’t make medical inquiries of employees unless its job related or part of a voluntary wellness program.

Your reaction is probably the same as mine. What’s the big deal sinceno one is forced to enter the wellness programs, no harm, no foul. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, however, takes a different and decidedly dimmer view. Intheir universe the fact that participation involves significant financial awards obviates the voluntary nature of participation and hence violates the law. Ergo, they’re suing Honeywell and a couple of smaller companies for essentially complying with the ACA.

We probably need a new cabinet level department to adjudicate diametrically opposed elements of legislation and regulation designed to make our lives better.


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