From the National Business Coalition on Health: The New York Times reports that a federal lawmaker is asking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate employer wellness programs that seek detailed health information from employees, and to issue guidelines preventing employers from using such programs to discriminate against workers.
The request, by Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and a staunch advocate for health privacy rights, came a few days after Pennsylvania State University suspended part of its new employee wellness program that had drawn objections from faculty members.
Ms. Slaughter, who made her request in a letter to the commission, is the author of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, a federal law that protects Americans against discrimination in employment or health insurance based on their genetic information. It is legal for employers to use financial incentives to encourage workers to fill out health risk assessment forms as long as that reward is based on completion of a wellness form and not tied to specific questions related to an employee’s health status.