How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ed Johnson Your Own Question
Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, International HR Consultant
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  GPHR cer BS, U.S.C. Pueblo; Immigration Law by Am. Mngmnt Association & USCIS Bus. Liaison ofc 1999
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Ed Johnson is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My company has required each employee to fill out a very ...

Customer Question

My company has required each employee to fill out a very detailed nine page questionaire listing age, weight, illnesses, blood pressure, medical conditions, parents and relatives health, and medical conditions. The form (all nine pages) must be completed, and an employee must agree tot he terms and conditions of the survey, "health survey", and "health coaching" or health benefits are not provided. IS THIS LEGAL?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 9 years ago.

Dear Tden,

This is legal. The company can make as a condition of employment, employees to submit to health coaching and so called surveys. Most of these surveys are called health risk assessment surveys. this is because research has shown that health risk is a contributing factor to rising health care insurance costs to employers. Employers, in an effort to control health costs, are cooperating with requirements of insurerers to do such things as:

1. prohibit smoking in the work place, and in some instances, prohibit all smoking at all times, and issue that has been supported by the courts. (enforcement however has inherent problems that leads to discrimination and privacy lawsuits).

2. Health risk assessment surveys

3. participation in health and prevention programs.

What is important to this being legal, is that it is communicated to all employees as a condition of employment; and that the purpose and use of the information is fully disclosed.

also important is that the information on the form is not used to discriminate for hiring and firing, promotions, etc. participation can be a condition of employment, but results can not be, because it may result in issues related to discrimination.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
So, my personal information is being released against my will.

It is not acondition of employment, the company is threatening to cancel, or not issue health insureance if the employee does not cooperate.

This is a new requirement. NOT a continuation. Is there anthing that can be done to stop or mitigate these actions?

This company has recently been making up new rules and requirements very frequently?
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 9 years ago.

Daer Tden,

I am sorry, i was not done yet.

Ok, what troubles me is that there is no relationship, according to your question to providing any beneift plan.

however also what is troubling is that your contact with CIGNA is not knowing of any use of this information for CIGNA.

Your CIGNA rep may not be aware that the compnay may be collecting this infomration to find altenrative health care. This kind of information is valuable in dealing with underwriters in finding a cheap insurance coverage, if an employer can justify that current and future claims of its employees will be lower than the general population.

If these are not the reasons for the survey, then the company is at risk for legal challanges, especailly if the information results in terminations.

There are essentially only two legal basis for the company to do this:

1. to gain leverage in the market place for better insurance rates

2. to improve productivity consistent with current research, such that they can in the future implement programs to overcome or prevent health issues.

Tell me this:

Who are they releasing the informration too, again?

What is the stated purpose of the information. exmple: this informatin will be used to.....complete the sentence please.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The aggregate information is being sent to ITT by CIGNA.
According to CIGNA and according to ITT individually identified data will not be sent to ITT.
A three page set of "terms" must be agreed to by the employee prior to taking the survey. Again, you agree to the terms, or you lose your health coverage.
The terms also state that CIGNA may chose to change the terms of use of the date without notifying you.
This is a great concern for a health care company to collect all of this individual data.
Jessica, the female employee at CIGNA also volunteered that the CIGNA employees had to complete similar forms, and that the risk factors for CIGNA employees were used to determine help determine the cost of the individual employe's medical coverage. High risk, higher costs, lower risks, lower costs.
What is to keep CIGNA from using this information to rate individuals?
Dennis Anthony
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 9 years ago.

Dear Tden,

There is nothing to prevent an employer from doing someting illegal. There are laws that make it illlegal to sue this information ofr dismissals and employee ratings.

The purposes stated make the collection of the informatin legal. Waht is vague, and may be a violation, is that the part stating that CIGAN may change the purppsoe of using the information without notice. This would be a viiolation of HIPPA.

The Hippa laws govern how private medical infomration can be used.

Under hipaa, you have a right to know how the information will be used.

You also have that right under the privacy act of 1974 for other infromation, such as your SS number.

You will not however, have a cause of action unless the Hippa or privacy act are actually violated.

Othe employment laws prohibit the use of medical informatiion to discriminate for employment purposes. you will find that under:

1. The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)

2. American with Disabilities ACt (ADA)

3. EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission)


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX that my level of satisfaction with this company has hit a new record low.
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 9 years ago.

Dear Tden,

Not every thing that is legal, is a good management practice. And, as in this case, has a potential to expose the company to legal action, and negatively affect moral.