In a resounding but nonetheless surprising victory for harassed employees everywhere, a federal court agreed with the plaintiff, AARP (and every fifth grade English teacher in the country except the ones who taught wellness vendors), that the words “forced” and “voluntary” are not synonyms. If a wellness vendor (Bravo being the best example) threatens to fine employees or even withhold incentives because the employee refuses to let a vendor screen the stuffing out of them, the vendor can’t hide behind established laws that say wellness programs are voluntary, because they aren’t.
We encourage you to read today’s article in STATNews by award-winning health reporter Sharon Begley for all the details. No surprise that the National Business Group on Health finds itself on the wrong side of history as usual, with their comment that:
Though the EEOC rules are not perfect, they do clarify underlying ambiguities in the law and have helped assure that employees and their families can benefit from these programs that promote their well-being.
Not true. Employers may still do whatever they want to promote employee well-being and happiness. They just (possibly, depending on the final rules written by the EEOC to comply with this decision) can’t do what Surviving Workplace Wellness says “pry, poke and prod” vendors excel at, which is to force employees to be happy whether they like it or not.