Does Your Employer Wellness Program Adhere To EEOCs New Final Rules?

On May 17, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released final rules clarifying the impact that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) may have on employer wellness programs.

In general, both ADA and GINA prohibit employers from obtaining and using health information about employees or their family members.  There are exceptions that allow the employer to ask health-related questions and conduct medical examinations if the employer is providing health or genetic services as part of a voluntary wellness program.

The final rules seek to harmonize the important safeguards in place from ADA and GINA while also encouraging participation in voluntary employer wellness programs.  In order to adhere to the rules, the program must: 1) be reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease; 2) be purely voluntary (with limited incentives); 3) disclose information to employers only in aggregate terms; and 4) provide notice to employees about the kinds of information being shared.

The rules will become effective in early 2017.  If you have any questions about how to bring your employer wellness programs into compliance with these final rules, please contact Karl R. Ulrich at kulrich@ssdlaw.com or 937.222.2052.

 

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