EEOC Files Another Lawsuit over Wellness Program

October 6, 2014 ( – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charging another company with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by its wellness program practices.

The agency says threats of insurance cancellation and discipline make the program involuntary and violate the ADA. The lawsuit was filed against Flambeau, Inc., a Baraboo, Wisconsin-based plastics manufacturing company.

According to the EEOC, Flambeau’s wellness program required that employees submit to biometric testing and a “health risk assessment,” or face cancellation of medical insurance, unspecified “disciplinary action” for failing to attend the scheduled testing, and a requirement to pay the full premium in order to stay covered. The lawsuit alleges that when employee Dale Arnold did not complete the biometric testing and health risk assessment, Flambeau cancelled his medical insurance and shifted responsibility for payment of the entire premium cost to him. The EEOC said employees who had taken the biometric testing and health risk assessment, by comparison, did not have their coverage cancelled involuntarily, and were only required to pay 25% of their premium cost.

The EEOC contends that the biometric testing and health risk assessment constituted “disability-related inquiries and medical examinations” that were not job-related and consistent with business necessity as defined by the ADA.

The case, EEOC v. Flambeau, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:13-cv-00638, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

This lawsuit is the EEOC’s second to directly challenge a wellness program under the ADA. Last month, it filed similar charges against Orion Energy Systems (see “EEOC Challenges Employer’s Wellness Program”).