On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a meeting with representatives from employers, advocacy groups and insurance providers to discuss issues raised by employee-sponsored wellness programs in the context of the Americans With Disabilities Act and Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act as well as age, national origin, race and sex discrimination.   EEOC Commissioners said that they wanted to explore whether and how the EEOC could provide employers with clarification on the design and implementation of wellness programs consistent with the federal equal opportunity laws.

In providing any such guidance, one Commissioner noted that the EEOC should consider the guidelines for wellness programs established by the regulations for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Affordable Care Act, which permit employers to offer financial incentives to participate in wellness programs.  While the meeting is a signal that the EEOC will be reviewing the legal issues involved with employer-sponsored wellness programs, the EEOC has not formally committed to issuing a guidance on wellness programs.

The EEOC is holding the meeting record open until May 23, 2013.  If you would like to submit written comments on any issue discussed at the May 8, 2013 meeting, you may do so by email (Commissionmeetingcomments@eeoc.gov) or mail (Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20507).   A copy of the written testimony from the meeting is available online at: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/5-8-13/.