Ruling against Wisconsin employer in disability discrimination case

If you drive north of Milwaukee along the shore of Lake Michigan for about an hour and a half, you will come to Manitowoc, a vacation spot dear to many of our city’s residents. It is also home to Orion Energy Systems, a lighting and power technology company, and the focus of a recent federal court decision.

The district court ruled against Orion, which had argued that its wellness plan provisions were exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act. Orion had required an employee to submit to medical testing as part of the program; if the employee did not submit to the test, she would be made to pay the full premiums for her health insurance.

The insurance coverage was otherwise employer-provided, according to an article in the Wisconsin Gazette.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a disability discrimination action against Orion. The commission pointed out to the court that requiring the medical testing violated the ADA’s ban on involuntary medical examinations. Orion countered that the wellness program was covered by the ADA’s “insurance safe harbor”; an argument rejected by the court.

The employee was apparently terminated by Orion. A trial focused on her allegation that she was fired in retaliation for refusing to go along with the medical exam will be scheduled.

An experienced Milwaukee disability discrimination attorney can help protect your rights in the workplace. A skilled lawyer with the law firm of Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c., will confidentially discuss with you the facts and details of your circumstances and then help you pursue justice.



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