Esther Lander Quoted in Business Insurance on Legality of Workplace Wellness Programs

Esther Lander, a partner in Akin Gump’s labor and employment practice, was quoted in the Business Insurance article “Use genetic testing of workers with caution,” which examines the legality of workplace wellness programs.

The article cites the example of a wellness program launched by a health insurer earlier this year that included voluntary diagnostic testing to identify genes linked to metabolic syndrome. According to the article, collecting employee genetic information could violate privacy and nondiscrimination laws.

Employers are permitted to use financial rewards to motivate employees toward completing health risk assessments or biometric screenings that include questions about genetics, Lander said.  She warned, however, that employers must also “make clear in writing that the incentives are available even if they don’t answer any questions pertaining to genetic information.”