EEOC to Propose New Anti-Discrimination Rules Covering Wellness Programs

May 30, 2014

Late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced it plans to issue two proposed rules this summer on what limitations the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act might impose on incentives to participate in employer wellness plans and health risk assessments.  In May 2013, the EEOC held a public meeting on the potential ADA and GINA issues raised by wellness programs, and witnesses urged the agency to provide clearer guidance on how the federal anti-discrimination and health care laws interact.  Specifically, the EEOC said one proposed rule would address whether, and to what extent, the ADA allows employers to offer financial incentives and/or impose financial penalties on employees as part of wellness programs offered through employer health plans.  The second proposed rule will attempt to resolve the question of whether GINA allows employers to offer inducements to employees' spouses or other family members to answer questions on health risk assessments.  The Association intends to submit comments on both rulemakings when they are published.