International Journal Of Occupational Health and Public Health Nursing

Wellness Programs in the Workplace: An Unfolding Legal Quandary for Employers

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  • Abstract

    This article is a legal and ethical examination of “wellness” policies in the American workplace. The authors will examine how employers are implementing policies that provide incentives to employees who lead a “healthy” lifestyle. The authors also address how these policies could adversely affect “non-healthy” employees. There are a wide variety of laws – federal and state – statutory and common law – that impact wellness policies and practices in the workplace. The authors review these laws in the context of wellness policies to ascertain when these policies could result in legal violations of employees’ rights. The authors, moreover, provide an ethical analysis of wellness policies, based on major ethical theories, to determine the morality of wellness policies in the workplace. Based on the aforementioned legal and ethical analysis, the authors make practical recommendations for employers and managers.