Posts Tagged: EEOC

The Latest Win for Wellness Programs May Be More of a Win for the EEOC

in Health Benefits, Wellness Programs

Although the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin held that the employer wellness program at issue in EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems did not violate the ADA, the EEOC may find much it likes in this court’s rationale.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from requiring employees to undergo medical examinations or answer disability-related questions, but provides certain exceptions that relate to benefit plans or wellness programs.  There have been several recent cases interpreting these exceptions, many of which had been clear wins for employer wellness programs. In this case, Orion (the employer) waived the… Continue Reading

DOL Wellness FAQs

in Health Benefits, Wellness Programs

The DOL has issued two new FAQs regarding wellness benefits that reflect the EEOC proposed rules.  The first question addresses what it means for a health contingent program to be “reasonably designed” to promote health or prevent disease.  Programs that collect sensitive health information without providing assistance to modify behavior (such as stopping smoking, managing diabetes, losing weight) may fail to meet the requirement of improving health or preventing disease and may be scrutinized and subject to enforcement action by the DOL.  The second question emphasizes that compliance with the DOL’s wellness program regulations does not confirm compliance with other… Continue Reading

EEOC Proposed Wellness Regulations

in Health Benefits, Wellness Programs

The EEOC has released a proposed rule discussing the requirements for a wellness program to be “voluntary”  under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Although these requirements impose additional disclosure requirements than are required for nondiscriminatory wellness programs under HIPAA, having guidance is welcome news in light of the recent cases challenging wellness programs as involuntary under the ADA.  Briefly, the ADA prohibits discrimination by employers against individuals on the basis of disability with respect to compensation and other terms of employment, including fringe benefits.  The ADA also prohibits disability-related inquiries or requiring a medical exam, but an exception is… Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee to Discuss Wellness

in Wellness Programs

Ever since the EEOC filed a lawsuit challenging Honeywell’s employer wellness plan under the ADA, employers have become hyper sensitive to wellness plan issues.  Many employers feel the EEOC challenges are unwarranted, particularly because the wellness plans already meet the requirements under the DOL and IRS guidance for employer-sponsored wellness plans.  Still others feel that ADA challenges should not filed until regulations have been finalized by the EEOC.  On that latter front, it’s taken the EEOC over a decade to come up with its current strategy, so it’s not surprising that regulations or guidance have not been issued.  Currently, the… Continue Reading