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On the Hill: Well, Well, Well

By Stephen Barlas
March 31, 2015

Representatives from groups such as the Business Roundtable and American Benefits Council testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to express their frustration with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). At issue was an injunction the EEOC filed against Honeywell International.



The Affordable Care Act allows companies to offer discounts on health premiums to employees who voluntarily participate in wellness programs. But Honeywell’s program required that an employee measure glucose and cholesterol levels in order to get the discount. The legal question is whether that’s discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC says a ruling on the issue is forthcoming, but it filed the injunction in the meantime. In her Senate testimony representing the American Benefits Council, Catherine M. Baase said, “Unfortunately for employers operating in good faith, the EEOC decided to pursue litigation before issuing guidance on this matter…It is impossible for employers to abide by rules that do not exist.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R.-Tenn.), chair of the Senate committee, said he would introduce legislation to clarify the situation “if confusion persists.”



Stephen Barlas has covered Washington, D.C., for trade and professional magazines since 1981 and since 1984 for Strategic Finance and its predecessor Management Accounting. You can reach him at sbarlas@verizon.net.
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