Employers Advised to Seek Legal Counsel as Worksite Nicotine Testing Grows in Popularity

SEATTLE, Wash. September 13, 2012 — Alere Wellbeing will host the complimentary live webinar, “How Far is Too Far? Legal Issues & Best Practices for Worksite Nicotine Testing,” on Tuesday, September 18 and Tuesday, September 25 at 11:00am PT. The webinar will be given by attorney Julie B. Ross, J.D., of Lynn Ross Smith & Gannaway, LLP, in Fort Worth, Texas. Ms. Ross will discuss the legal issues surrounding testing for tobacco use status and best practices for those administering worksite nicotine testing.

Premium differentials and incentive programs to curb tobacco use are becoming increasingly popular. Looking to benefit from considerable healthcare discounts, many employers are now turning to nicotine testing in order to discourage dishonesty and ensure that incentives are properly allocated. In twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, however, laws known as “smokers’ rights laws” and “lifestyle statutes” prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who use tobacco in their free time.

Nicotine testing as part of a premium differential can be a positive way to encourage users to quit, but programs must be well designed in order to ensure that employees’ rights are upheld. “Employers must be vigilant in their understanding of the state laws that protect an employee’s right to engage in lawful, off-duty conduct,” said Ms. Ross. “Additionally, several questions have yet to be answered about the extent to which the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) permits employer nicotine testing. We advise employers to work closely and regularly with their legal counsel to ensure continued compliance with federal and state statutes.” Ms. Ross will discuss questions regarding the ADA in greater detail during her presentation.

Ms. Ross represents employers and management in both the public and private sector. Her practice emphasizes all aspects of employment law in an effort to help clients avoid employment litigation and/or minimize liability. She is currently admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts in the Northern and Western Districts of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is also a former Certified Public Accountant.

Join Ms. Ross on Tuesday, September 18 or Tuesday, September 25 for Alere Wellbeing’s complimentary webinar, “How Far is Too Far? Legal Issues & Best Practices for Worksite Nicotine Testing.” To register for the webinar, visit www.alerewellbeing.com/clearinsights.

* Employment law varies by state. The information provided in this press release and in the webinar is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Participants are encouraged to seek the advice of their own legal counsel. Ms. Ross does not represent Alere Wellbeing or the views of Alere Wellbeing.

About Alere Wellbeing
Alere Wellbeing brings together science, technology, and personal interaction to help people recognize and modify unhealthy behaviors to avoid chronic illness and live longer, more vital lives. Alere Wellbeing’s evidence-based programs address modifiable health risks that contribute to chronic disease: tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and stress. Current clients include 27 state governments and more than 675 health plans and employers, 76 of which are in the Fortune 500. Alere Wellbeing is known and respected for its pay-for-performance business model, intense focus on scalable service quality, dedicated account management, continuous program improvement, and transparent reporting of measurable outcomes at the individual participant and aggregate population level. Alere Wellbeing has contributed to more than 100 published research studies and maintains collaboration with the American Cancer Society® and an active research program funded by the Centers for Disease Control, American Legacy Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. More information about Alere Wellbeing can be found at www.alerewellbeing.com.

About Alere
By developing new capabilities in near-patient diagnosis, monitoring and health management, Alere enables individuals to take charge of improving their health and quality of life at home. Alere’s global leading products and services, as well as its new product development efforts, focus on cardiology, infectious disease, toxicology, diabetes, oncology and women’s health. Alere is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information regarding Alere please visit www.alere.com.

For More Information:
Sharen Ross
Alere Wellbeing
(206) 876-2276