U.S. Department of Labor Obtains Consent Order and Judgment Providing Restitution to Employees Charged Higher Medical Premiums
COLUMBUS, IN – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has ordered the fiduciaries of the Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. Welfare Benefit Plan to pay restitution of $145,635 to 596 employees of the Dorel Juvenile Group Inc.’s California, Indiana, and Massachusetts facilities who paid a tobacco use surcharge as part of their medical insurance premium.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) found the Massachusetts-based company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by discriminating against employees from January 1, 2013, through December 21, 2017, by requiring them to pay health premium surcharges through the imposition of an impermissible wellness program.
“This settlement recovers money for employees who were unlawfully required to pay a tobacco use surcharge without the availability of the required reasonable alternative standard or waiver,” said Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Director L. Joe Rivers, in Cincinnati. “Employers and employees with questions on medical and other employee benefits are encouraged to reach out to EBSA for assistance and to ensure they are complying with the law.”
The consent order and judgment also requires the company to revise its Tobacco Surcharge Wellness Program to comply with ERISA, which prohibits group health plans from discriminating against individuals in eligibility and continued eligibility for benefits and in individual premium or contribution rates on the basis of any health-status related factor.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Acosta v. Dorel Juvenile Group Inc.
Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02993