Updated Sep 23, 2018

The big picture: How workplace wellness programs can affect privacy

A woman on a treadmill at work. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Workplaces have increasingly offered employees financial bonuses for hitting new wellness goals, but the initiatives have recently become controversial given they offer employers an inside look at their employee's health records, writes Julie Appleby of NPR.

The big picture: The Americans with Disabilities Act and genetic privacy laws prevent employers from looking at employees' health information. Critics of the program argue that employers wouldn't be able to access this data without providing financial incentive to their employees, and sometimes that incentive is so large that employees can't afford not to participate.

The state of play: A federal judge recently rejected a wellness rule set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would have imposed a 30% benefit cap to employees participating in workplace wellness programs.

  • The judge ruled the EEOC failed to prove that a 30% cap does not render the plan involuntary, forcing the commission to come up with a new rule.
  • On January 1, the judge's decision will take effect, and will essentially overturn all existing rules relating to the programs.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 employers say they aren't sure how their wellness plans will change after the ruling, Appleby writes, but experts expect these incentives to decline.

Be smart: Despite people's willingness to participate in these programs, the improvement they have on employee health is modest at best, Bloomberg reports. Employee behavior only changes marginally, and some who aren't healthy choose not to participate, rendering the programs unnecessary.

The bottom line: The programs won't be going anywhere given employers want to keep health insurance costs down, but questions about how to regulate them will only become more prominent.

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Police officer in George Floyd killing arrested

A protester with a sign with George Floyd's last words. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was taken into custody Friday by Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, according to the Star Tribune's Briana Bierschbach.

The state of play: Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that there was no additional charging information yet, as that decision is in the jurisdiction of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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