EEOC Finalizes Wellness Rules Under ADA and GINA

On May 16, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final rules that describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer-sponsored wellness programs.

  • The final ADA rule provides guidance on the extent to which employers may offer incentives to employees to participate in wellness programs that ask them to answer disability-related questions or to undergo medical examinations.
  • The final GINA rule clarifies that an employer may offer a limited incentive to an employee whose spouse provides information about his or her current or past health status as part of the employer’s wellness program.

Final Rules

The final rules provide much needed guidance for employers on how to structure employee wellness programs without violating the ADA and GINA. Most importantly, the final ADA rule provides guidance on the extent to which employers may offer incentives to employees to participate in wellness programs that ask them to answer disability-related questions or undergo medical examinations.

Also, the final GINA rule clarifies that an employer may offer a limited incentive for an employee’s spouse to provide information about the spouse’s current or past health status as part of a voluntary wellness program.

According to the EEOC, the final rules provide guidance to employers on how their wellness programs can be designed to comply with the ADA and GINA in a way that is consistent with HIPAA’s rules for wellness programs.

Action Steps

The final rules provide long-awaited guidance on how to structure wellness programs without violating the ADA or GINA. Employers that sponsor wellness programs should work with their advisors to determine what changes, if any, should be made to their wellness programs’ design to comply with the EEOC’s final rules.

For more information see FAQ’s about Wellness Programs Legal Requirements

 

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The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information above contains only a summary of the applicable legal provisions and does not purport to cover every aspect of any particular law, regulation or requirement. Depending on the specific facts of any situation, there may be additional or different requirements. This is to be used only as a guide and not as a definitive description of your compliance obligations.