When CEO David Cote advocated for Honeywell employees to take a health survey as part of a company wellness program, the last thing he expected was a lawsuit, Cote told CNBC on Wednesday morning.
"I have to admit I was more than a little bit surprised by this suit … in fact, 'infuriated' might be a good way to put it," Cote said on "Squawk Box."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an independent agency, is suing Honeywell for imposing penalties for employees who don't want to take the test. If Honeywell employees and spouses choose not to take the biometric survey, they could be penalized up to $4,000 each, through surcharges and lost contributions. The lawsuit said the program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
"If they don't get the survey, then they have to pay $100 more per month for their policy," Cote said. "So we don't refuse anybody any coverage. And the whole point is, why should people who don't care about how they're living, why should they be able to take advantage of all the people who do care?"