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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

  • 05
  • August
  • 2016

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Has Come Around to Employer-Sponsored Wellness Plans – Sort of

The Obama Administration has touted the use of wellness programs through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). But until recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) seemed at odds with this policy goal, even bringing lawsuits against employers for health plans that the EEOC saw as “involuntary” because of incentives that those employers provided to employees participating in the programs, which the EEOC characterized as penalties against non-participating employees. In May 2016, the EEOC adopted a more conciliatory stance, when it published its final regulations on wellness programs sponsored by employers. The new regulations finally offered some clarity on what the EEOC sees as “voluntary” and “involuntary,” and provide some bright-line rules in place of the ambiguity reflected in the EEOC’s prior enforcement actions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”). Unfortunately, the rules still limit the benefit for both employers and employees that the HIPAA and Obamacare regulations intended to provide.

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Dealing with Dementia in the Workplace

In the last couple of years, I have watched both my parents deal with dementia: first, my father who died last year after dealing with Lewy body dementia in the last years of his life, and more recently, my mother, who is currently living in “memory care” assisted living because of Parkinson’s-related dementia. While it has been difficult watching my once very bright parents deal with severe cognitive declines, I recognize that they were both fortunate in that they did not begin to suffer from dementia until they were well into their eighties.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner