The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shocked companies lastfall when it filed a lawsuit against Honeywell arguing that itswellness program, which is similar to the programs offered by manyother companies, violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Although a judge rejected the EEOC's request for a temporary restrainingorder against Honeywell's program, the lawsuit created a great dealof uncertainty for employers. Such wellness programs and incentivesto encourage employees to participate in them have becomemainstream as companies attempt to control their health carecosts.

A recent survey of 121 large corporates conducted by theNational Business Group on Health and Fidelity found that 79% offersome type of health improvement or wellness program. Among thosecompanies, 74% offer employees an incentive to participate.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.