Increased Attention to Workplace Harassment and Wellness Programs by the EEOC

Issuing new regulations on workplace wellness programs is also high on the EEOC’s to-do list for 2015. Many employers offer wellness programs (which may include biometric screening and monitoring, exercise incentives, and so forth) to encourage their employees to adopt healthy lifestyles that they hope will lead to improved productivity at work. Although well-intentioned, these programs may run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, particularly if they involve disclosure of health information by employees or impose sanctions on non-participating employees…

Until the EEOC issues its new regulations, cautious employers should do their best to make their wellness plan truly voluntary by avoiding any penalties for non-participation as well as informal pressure to participate, and should furthermore limit the types of health information collected to avoid seeking information about employees’ genetic background or possible disabilities.

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