Overview: Not only are healthy employees more productive and absent less, and have lower health care costs, but having a successful employee health program means that employers are less likely to be fined for OSHA violations. When it comes to employee health concerns, there are many different considerations to take, including day to day concerns, widespread epidemics, mental health, smoking in and out of the workplace, and medical emergencies.
Having an employee health program that takes care of all the different health concerns will mean that the workplace is prepared for any different contingency. Plans might include training workers in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver, installing an AED, teaching proper employee hygiene having flexible work schedules, establishing Employee Assistance Programs and Wellness Programs and creating no-smoking environments, among many others.
Whenever health issues are involved, though, it is important to take into account the Americans with Disabilities Act and what it will, or will not, allow you to do. This is especially pertinent when dealing with mental health concerns.
Trends: While many states have banned smoking in the workplace for years, it's not common knowledge that smoking outside the workplace is often a protected activity. Unless there is a valid reason for doing so, such as if the employer's main purpose is to teach the importance of smoking cessation, use caution before implementing policies regarding off-work smoking as it may be considered discriminatory.
Ashley Shaw, J.D., Legal Editor
The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that even though medical marijuana use is legal in the state, employers may still terminate employees who fail a drug test due to off-duty use of medicinal marijuana. See Coats v. Dish Network, LLC, 2013 COA 62 (2013).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is scheduled to hold a public meeting on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:00 am (EST), to discuss how employee wellness programs should be handled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws enforced by the EEOC. The employer community has long been waiting for EEOC guidance in this area and this meeting will bring them one step closer.
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The California Privacy Section was recently updated to include a discussion of the California Court of Appeals decision in Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., 214 Cal. App. 4th 808 (2013), which held that an employee may file an action against an employer for the public disclosure of private facts about the employee even if the disclosure was made orally to others and not in writing.
The California Court of Appeals held in Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., 214 Cal. App. 4th 808 (2013), that an employee may file an action against an employer for the public disclosure of private facts about the employee even if the disclosure was made orally to others and not in writing.
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The Massachusetts Smoke Free Workplace poster, mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, is required by all smoke-free public places.
The Illinois Smoke Free Illinois Act poster, mandated by the Illinois Department of Public Health, must be clearly and conspicuously posted in each public place covered by the act.
HR and legal considerations for employers regarding employee health programs. Support on keeping employees healthy and productive while at work.
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