Compliance Alert: EEOC Takes Notice of Wellness Programs

The Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed two lawsuits against employers over wellness programs. The EEOC is challenging the voluntary nature of these programs under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

As background, the ADA limits an employer’s ability to obtain medical information from applicants and employees. Generally, an employer may only require medical examinations and make disability related inquiries when it is job related and consistent with business necessity.

However, there is an exception when such medical exams and disability-related inquiries are part of a voluntary wellness program. Unfortunately, the EEOC has not issued a definition of “voluntary.” Informally, however, the EEOC is concerned about financial incentives or other “penalties” imposed on individuals who do not participate in a wellness program. See the Appendix below for additional details of the two cases.

View USI’s summary of these issues in more detail.

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