CVS Dodges Labor Suit Over Wellness Exam

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A class of CVS employees is not entitled to wages for completing a wellness exam as part of the company’s medical insurance program, a federal judge ruled.
     Lead plaintiff Roberta Watterson sued Garfield Beach CVS in March 2014, claiming the company owed her wages for the time she spent completing the exam as part of the insurance plan’s “WellRewards” program.
     Under the program, plan beneficiaries who do not complete an annual health screening and online wellness review are required to pay an additional premium of $50 per month, according to the ruling.
     Watterson’s original complaint also included claims that the exam contained inappropriate or invasive questions – for example, whether the participant was sexually active – but the ruling makes no mention of those claims. Watterson’s lawyers did not respond to request for comment Friday as to the status of the Watterson’s other claims.
     U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled that time spent completing the exam did not have to be paid because Watterson was a voluntary participant in the program, and her participation in the program was not a condition of her employment.
     “A voluntary decision by plaintiff not to enroll in the plan would not deprive her of any opportunities tied to her employment with defendant,” Gilliam wrote. “The plan is a purely optional benefit provided by defendant to its employees.”
     Watterson’s argument also fails here, he said, because she was not under CVS control while taking the exam.
     Gilliam also said that Watterson’s completion of the exam did not constitute “work” as defined by California law, and her expenses for the health screening and questionnaire were not tied to her job duties.
     Neither side could be reached for comment on Friday.

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