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Wellness "sticks," as well as "carrots," are legal, court says

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit* has held that employers may use "sticks" to encourage participation in wellness programs as well as "carrots," if the wellness program is part of a group health or other benefit plan. *The 11th Circuit hears appeals from federal...

The EEOC and Wellness Programs: Time for an Answer?

The EEOC has announced that it will be holding a meeting on May 8, 2013, to hear from invited panelists on the treatment of wellness programs under federal law, with an emphasis on understanding the ways that the ADA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act as well as other statutes that the...

EEOC Signals Increased Focus on Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

A majority of US employers offer some sort of wellness program designed to reduce the cost of health insurance and healthcare costs, and to improve the health and well-being of employees. However, unless care is taken, even well-intentioned wellness programs may violate federal law. The EEOC held...

EEOC Talks Employer Wellness Programs; Provides an ADA Q&A

Consistent with its strategic plan to provide up-to-date guidance on the requirements of antidiscrimination laws, last week, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued this press release in which it announced that it had revised guidance on how the Americans with Disabilities...

Is Your Wellness Program Discriminatory?

It is no secret that health care costs for employers and their employees are out of control in this country. Many employers have attempted to hold down these rising costs by offering wellness-program incentives - insurance premium reductions to employees who meet certain health-related incentives...

EEOC and Wellness Programs: A Preview of Things to Come?

Employers have been waiting for the EEOC to provide direction with respect to its position on wellness programs and the impact of the ADA on them. Last May, the EEOC held a hearing where it heard from a broad spectrum of interested groups on the topic. In the press release issued after the meeting, the...

EEOC Places Employee Wellness Programs Under Scrutiny

by Mark Jeffries and Lindsay Bouffard Wellness programs are surging in popularity as employers seek to reduce steadily rising healthcare costs. But could a well-intentioned wellness program end up costing you? With open enrollment for medical plans right around the corner for most employers, now is...

UPDATED: EEOC Seeks Court Order to Halt Honeywell’s Biometric Testing

Thanks to Kate Bischoff of The Employment Law Navigator for bringing this to our attention. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a petition yesterday in federal court in Minnesota to stop Honeywell International, Inc., from requiring that employees (and spouses, if the employees have...

What the EEOC Plans to Tell Employers About Wellness Programs

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is obsessed with wellness programs. Or, as the EEOC likes to describe them "'so-called' wellness programs." And not in a "yay, so-called wellness programs are super" kinda way. No, in recent months, the EEOC has initiated...

The EEOC and Wellness Programs: Coming Home to Roost?

On May 8, 2013, the EEOC conducted a meeting and received testimony from a broad spectrum of advocates on the topic of the interplay between the wellness programs and federal anti-discrimination laws. The headline of the press release concerning the meeting stated Employer Wellness Programs Need Guidance...

EEOC Issues Balanced Interpretation of Legality of Employer Wellness Plans

Several months ago, the EEOC announced its intent to issue regulations interpreting whether employer wellness plans are legal or illegal medical exams under the ADA. Thankfully, last Thursday the EEOC published its proposed regulations, and its good news for employers who use these programs to keep down...

Hey – That EEOC Wellness Rule Isn’t Half Bad

NOTE: As I breathlessly reported last week , the EEOC has issued its long-awaited proposed rule on employer wellness programs and the Americans with Disabilities Act. ( Here is a nicer copy than the one that was available then.) Brian Magargle , who knows a lot more than I do about the Health Insurance...

The EEOC Asks: Is Your Corporate Wellness Program Really Voluntary?

by Marcia L. DePaula Many employers who provide health coverage to their employees have initiated wellness programs within the workplace over the years in order to reduce health care costs. These wellness programs may include initiatives to motivate an employee to become healthier through exercise...