Benefits and Compensation

5th Circuit: Mandatory Wellness Programs Are Compatible with GINA

By Martin J. Regimbal, JD

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi–recently addressed the interplay between the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and mandatory wellness programs. The court considered an employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims and reached a commonsense conclusion regarding the lawfulness of mandatory wellness programs.

Although the court’s opinion focused on only one employment scenario in which GINA’s provision might be implicated, it provides useful guidance regarding mandatory wellness programs, which more and more employers are using. The court’s decision provides much-needed clarity in this muddy area of employment law, so let’s take a closer look.