Legal News

DC Judge: EEOC Must Reconsider Rules on Employer Sponsored Wellness Programs

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion in the case of AARP v EEOC, requiring the agency to reconsider its rules related to employer sponsored wellness programs under both the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The rules, which have already been in effect for several months, allow employers to penalize workers up to 30% of the cost of their health insurance premiums if they decline to participate in wellness programs that require medical testing or disclosure of personal medical information. Such programs are only permissible under the ADA if they are “voluntary.”

The level of incentive (including penalty) that would preserve the voluntary nature of a program – in other words, an incentive or penalty not so great or so burdensome that it really leaves workers with little choice – is at the center of debate in this case.

The judge said the EEOC did not adequately justify the basis and reasoning of the “30% level,” and seemed to ignore members of the public who expressed serious concerns about it during the rulemaking process (penalties based on the 30% level could range from several hundred to several thousand dollars a year for individual workers).

These articles outline or comment on the court’s opinion:

“AARP’s Wellness Win Against the EEOC: The “Law Nerd” Version”

“EEOC Ordered to Reconsider What ‘Voluntary’ Means for its Wellness Program Guidance”

“Court’s Ruling Requiring the EEOC to Reconsider Its ‘Wellness’ Regulations Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing for Employers”

“Court Rejects Coercive, Biased Rule Favoring Intrusive Workplace Wellness Plans”