- Written by Susannah L. Ashton
Several employers offer workplace wellness programs (“Wellness Programs”) to employees that are intended to encourage healthier lifestyles or prevent disease. These programs sometimes use health risk assessments and biometric screenings to determine an employee's health risk factors, and often offer financial and other incentives, such as paying lower health insurance premiums, for employees who participate or achieve certain health outcomes.
Wellness Programs must comply with the laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), including Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), as amended by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
The ADA restricts the medical information employers may obtain from applicants and employees and makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on disability. However, it does allow medical examinations of employees and inquiries about their health if they are voluntary and part of a Wellness Program. HIPAA allows wellness programs to offer incentives in the form of rewards to participating employees who achieve certain health outcomes or penalties if participating employees fail to achieve health outcomes.
A Win For Employers: Private Attorney General Claims Delay Plaintiff’s Appeal of Denial of Class Certification
- Written by Greg Blueford
The California Court of Appeal recently gave a win to employers battling class action lawsuits with Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) claims. PAGA authorizes aggrieved employees to bring a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other current and former employees in place of California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”). A PAGA lawsuit may be brought for any violation of the California Labor Code, regardless of how small, technical, or short-lived the alleged violation. If successful, the plaintiff splits the penalties with the LWDA: 75% to LWDA and 25% to the plaintiff.
Plaintiff Corina Munoz was a former cashier at Chipotle. Plaintiff alleged that Chipotle forced employees to buy non-slip shoes from “Shoes for Crews,” illegally deducted the cost of those shoes from employees’ paychecks, and provided improper wage statements. Plaintiff’s complaint also sought civil penalties on behalf of themselves and approximately 26,000 current and former employees under PAGA.