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Common Corporate Wellness Practices under Scrutiny of EEOC

File this under, “we hope common sense prevails."

The ACA (Affordable Care Act) provides a number of means of promoting and expanding corporate wellness programs (see Wellness Rules). The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) also provides ample guidance about what can and cannot be done with a corporate wellness program. Employers have taken this to heart, and there has been a significant uptick in corporate wellness program implementation. By-and-large most employers seem to have been good about adhering to the spirit and letter of the guidance.

The EEOC, however, seems to disagree. They’ve brought several challenges recently focused on common wellness designs, such as using biometric and/or medical screenings for wellness incentives. The most recent case (the EEOC’s third), EEOC v. Honeywell, is interesting and garnering attention because Honeywell International decided to fight back – and WON (so far)! The court ruled against the EEOC’s initial request for restraining order and preliminary injunction. However, at this point it is likely that the case will continue to move forward through the courts.

If the rulings go in favor of the EEOC, this will have a significant impact on employer corporate wellness design in the future. The mere prospect of being a target of the EEOC may be enough to deter some employers from implementation until the issue is more firmly resolved. Stay tuned!

Posted on December 08, 2014 by BEN COHEN, CEBS, PRACTICE LEADER, HEALTH AND WELFARE BENEFITS

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