The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has officially rescinded its regulations on wellness incentives under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. The rescission rules were published in today’s Federal Register and will take effect January 1.
(Thanks very much to my blogging buddy Bill Goren for alerting me to this yesterday.)
Here’s some background, from a blog post that I wrote in October:
No wellness rules until June 2019. In May 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations relating to wellness programs and how participation could be considered “voluntary” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. (Long story, but you can get the background here.) The AARP sued the EEOC, and a federal judge in the District of Columbia found in favor of the AARP on most points. After giving the EEOC a chance to revise the rules, which the EEOC didn’t do, the judge vacated portions of the rules. However, his decision was not to take effect until January 2019. The purpose of the delay was to allow the EEOC another chance to issue amended regulations.
Well, the regulatory agenda issued this week says that there will be no new wellness regulations until June 2019. This appears to mean that the existing wellness regulations will be officially vacated as of January 2019.
As I’ve noted before, President Trump’s nominees for the EEOC — Janet Dhillon as Chair, Daniel Gade as Commissioner, Chai Feldblum as Commissioner (reappointment), and Sharon Fast Gustafson as General Counsel — have all been delayed, reportedly because some Republicans object to the reappointment of Ms. Feldblum. Presumably, this is why the EEOC hasn’t been able to issue revised wellness regulations.
We will be on the lookout for the new rules to be issued this summer.