EEOC Issues Proposed Wellness Programs Rules under the ADA – Is Your Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program “Voluntary”?

June 09, 2015

Wellness programs are becoming more popular among employers as a way to promote healthy lifestyles for their employees. Most employers are aware that their wellness programs must comply with the nondiscrimination rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), under which a wellness program is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of a health factor. However, last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) brought several claims against employers on the basis that the employer’s wellness program was not “voluntary” under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). As a result of these claims, an employer may be faced with a new dilemma even if its wellness program is able to pass muster under the HIPAA nondiscrimination rules, does it fail the ADA “voluntary” requirement?

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