Employees who refuse the screenings could face up to $4,000 in surcharges and lose company health savings account contributions, according to the petition. The company initially told employees it would use the test results to impose goals on them for reducing their health risk factors, or face losing their HSA contributions, according to the petition. Honeywell has delayed that part of the program for 2015 but has not yet said whether it will implement it in the future, the petition says.
Honeywell, however, issued a statement Wednesday calling the EEOC's lawsuit “frivolous.”
Honeywell said the incentives it provides are sanctioned under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Affordable Care Act. The company went on to say that no employee has ever been denied coverage or disciplined for deciding not to participate in the wellness program. Employees who take part in the biometric testing have their monthly premiums reduced by $125, according to the statement, and testing results are not shared with the company.
“The Chicago EEOC office is unfamiliar with the details of our wellness programs and woefully out of step with the healthcare marketplace and with the core intent of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) to provide expanded access and improved healthcare to all Americans,” according to the statement. “The incentives in our wellness programs are pro consumer and have delivered demonstrably better healthcare outcomes for employees and their families.”
The EEOC is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order that would stop Honeywell from imposing penalties on any employee who refuses biometric testing. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.
While Honeywell is now based in New Jersey, it was formerly headquartered in Minneapolis and still maintains a large workforce there. The suit relates to a program in Minneapolis.
Follow Lisa Schencker on Twitter: @lschencker