Yesterday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced here that it had issued issued final rules on how the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act apply to employer-sponsored wellness programs.
So, what do y’all need to know about the EEOC’s new rules on employer wellness programs?
(No one ever accused me of burying the lede)
A received a number of emails following yesterday’s blog post, “Can you refuse to hire a person whom you fear may have a future disability?” Most were nice. Although, I didn’t appreciate one reader’s virtual flaming bag of virtual dog poop left in my inbox. That person can go to virtual hell. Or actual hell.
But, one of the more substantive emails was worthy of setting the table for today’s post:
Do you follow me on Twitter? If you do, you may have watched me live-streaming some of my one-year-old, who won Halloween hands-down. Well, that and you would have gotten the early heads up that the EEOC was issuing its proposed rules on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and its impact on your employer wellness programs.
Did I ever tell you about the one in college we called “The Mad Pooper”? (Actually, we didn’t use the word “Pooper.” We used another word that better expressed our distaste for this individual).
It was during my freshman year of college. More often than not after a night of revelry and intoxication, which generally fell on a day that ended in “Y,” a phantom defacator would infiltrate our co-ed bathrooms and leave a calling card — or, more accurately, a bowel movement — right in the middle of the floor. Continue reading
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 litigation against companies (example, example, example) claiming that they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act by both requiring medical examination and penalizing employees who decline to participate.
Your fitness-for-duty employee medical examinations are job-related or consistent with business necessity. So, they pass muster under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, what about the medical information you request from employees in connection with those exams?
Oh yeah, there’s that too…
Ask for too much info and you might you be violating not only the ADA, but also the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act.
Rut roh! More after the jump…
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 Act applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. You can find links to that revised guidance here.
And earlier in the month, the EEOC held a public meeting on employer wellness programs and how they may be impacted by not only the ADA, but also the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). You can view a copy of the press release here. Suffice it to say that, until the EEOC offers further guidance on these issues — and even when it does — consult with an employment lawyer before implementing or updating one of these programs.