Updates To The AARP vs EEOC Court Decision

Posted By: Margaret Stockley | Published on : April 17th, 2019

aarp eeoc court decision

If you either have a workplace wellness program in place or are considering implementing one, the new AARP vs EEOC court ruling that came into effect on January 1st 2019 highlighted the need to ensure that wellness program incentives fall within the “voluntary” requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). While most wellness programs are designed to encourage healthy behaviors, employees were concerned about mandatory participation in reporting health information in order to receive an incentive. Additional concerns included an invasion of privacy and whether any health information that was gathered could be used to discriminate against them in the workplace.

While the ruling is in place, the guidelines are not. These are expected to be released from June 2019 onwards. In the meantime, what can you as an employer do?

  • Be transparent about all data that you collect, including through wellness apps
  • Work with a benefits, legal, or wellness representative to stay current with all regulations
  • Ensure that your vendors comply with the latest compliance standards
  • Eliminate incentives tied to Health Risk Assessments (HRA’s), GINA, and biometric screening exams. This should also include the partners/children of employees too, if offered
  • Offer employees a variety of methods to achieve an incentive that does NOT include HRA’s, health quizzes that ask about family history, or biometric tests and complies with the percentage/dollar amount permitted

Given the uncertainty around the guidelines, adopting a proactive approach to minimize risk may be one that benefits employees and employers alike.