Law Week Colorado Interviews Brooke Colaizzi on Risk of Workplace Wellness Programs

DENVER, Colo. (September 29, 2020) — Law Week Colorado quoted Brooke Colaizzi in an article titled “How to Do ‘Wellness’ Right.” The article, published on September 28, discusses the legal risk associated with gathering medical information for employee wellness programs. In light of the pandemic, many employers are adopting wellness programs to help employees combat the physical and mental strains of working remotely.

Colaizzi notes that complex programs pose legal risks because they involve the collection of employees’ medical and health data. To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Colaizzi recommends that all wellness programs be offered to employees as voluntary. However, there is an added risk that “voluntary” wellness programs may be considered coercive if an employee is compelled to participate to receive substantial benefits incentives, such as significant reductions in insurance premiums.

Creating wellness programs that meet specific goals will help to avoid legal issues and drive employee participation. “Start small with targeted programs, such as smoking cessation, encouraging gym memberships, and lunchtime walks, to test the waters and see how employees respond,” Colaizzi advised.

The full article was published in the September 28, 2020, edition of Law Week Colorado. (Subscription required)