EEOC Lawsuit Charges Employer Wellness Program Violates ADA

Orion Energy Systems in Wisconsin faces an EEOC lawsuit alleging they violated federal law by requiring an employee to submit to medical exams that were not job-related but were part of the employer’s wellness program. After objecting to the program the employee was later fired.

Clark Hill attorney Kristi Gauthier says the EEOC typically files opinion letters over these matters. "This is the first time they have filed a lawsuit." Gauthier also said the EEOC was undoubtedly waiting for a case like this to challenge these programs.

The EEOC brought the suit under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability discrimination in employment, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case, (EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Civil Action No. 14-cv- 00619) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Chief Judge William C Griesbach.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.