EEOC’s new wellness program rules give employers more to consider

May 16, 2016 0 COMMENTS

Employers are getting a look at new final rules affecting how they structure wellness programs, rules that are meant to clear up conflicts among various federal laws but that also may make administration of wellness programs more challenging.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new rules describe how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to employer wellness programs that request health information from employees and their spouses. The rules—one dealing with the ADA and the other with GINA—explain how workplace wellness programs can comply with the ADA and GINA consistent with provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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EEOC calling for changes to ADA regulations related to wellness programs

April 16, 2015 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing how employer wellness programs can be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC announced the proposed rule on April 16, and it was published in the Federal Register on April 20. Members of the public have until June 19 to submit comments. In addition to the notice, the EEOC has published a fact sheet for small businesses and a question-and-answer document.

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New resources available on upcoming rules for federal contractors

February 24, 2014 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has posted new resources on its website to help federal contractors comply with new regulations pertaining to recruiting people with disabilities and veterans.

New regulations going into effect March 24 strengthen requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Maryland law on accommodations for pregnant workers takes effect October 1

September 12, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers Act goes into effect October 1, meaning Maryland employers with 15 or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who experience a disability because of a pregnancy.

Basically, the new law requires employers to treat pregnancies in much the same way disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are handled. Accommodations are required unless they would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

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Phoenix bans sexual orientation discrimination

February 27, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Dinita L. James

On February 26, the Phoenix City Council voted to amend its human relations ordinance to include lesbian, gay, and transgender persons as well as disabled individuals among the groups protected from employment discrimination. The 5-3 vote came after a nearly five-hour public hearing before an estimated 500 people in the city’s historic Orpheum Theatre.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton had fast-tracked the amendment, which was something of a sleeper until opponents, including the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, mobilized in the week before the vote. Phoenix had voted down a similar proposal 21 years ago.

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DOL interpretation tackles FMLA rule on caring for adult children

January 16, 2013 2 COMMENTS

A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Administrator’s Interpretation has been issued to clarify who qualifies as an adult “son or daughter” whom an employee may take unpaid leave from work to care for and rely on the job protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

An adult son or daughter must meet four requirements before the employee may take FMLA leave to provide care. (The employee must also meet all of the other requirements under the FMLA, such as employer coverage and employee eligibility.) The son or daughter must (1) have a mental or physical disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), (2) be incapable of caring for himself because of the disability, (3) have a serious health condition, and (4) be in need of care because of the serious health condition.

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EEOC plan reveals enforcement priorities

September 07, 2012 1 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a draft of its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) that spells out priorities such as stepped-up efforts against hiring discrimination and harassment, new protections for various vulnerable workers, preserving access to the legal system, and dealing with emerging issues like changes brought by the ADA Amendments Act.

Recruitment and hiring
The SEP says the EEOC will target class-based intentional discrimination as well as practices that seem neutral but adversely affect particular groups. The plan specifically mentions racial and ethnic minorities, older workers, women, and people with disabilities.

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Maine Tightens Up Law on Service Animals

September 20, 2011 2 COMMENTS

Until recently, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations were quite broad in their definition of “service animal,” but that changed earlier this year. Now Maine, which had kept the definition loose in state law, also is tightening up on what constitutes a service animal.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations not only for employees with disabilities but also for customers with disabilities. Employers that operate retail stores, banks, service centers, and other locations open to the public are probably places of public accommodation under the law.

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Wait Is Finally Over! EEOC Finalizes Regulations Interpreting ADAAA

March 24, 2011 0 COMMENTS

More than two years after the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) went into effect, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized regulations interpreting the law’s requirements. For the most part, the final regulations provide exactly the type of comprehensive guidance employers were hoping for. In any event, they are a dramatic departure from (and an improvement over) the proposed regulations the EEOC issued in September 2009.

Let’s look at the regulations’ key provisions and what they mean for employers.

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Sears Settlement with EEOC Raises New Concerns on ADA Enforcement

September 30, 2009 0 COMMENTS

by Burton J. Fishman

Sears recently reached a $6.2 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations stemming from the company’s alleged refusal to return injured workers to the job. This is the largest ADA settlement in a single lawsuit in EEOC history. More aggressive enforcement has been promised by the Obama administration across the civil rights/employment discrimination front; this appears to be a product of that new policy.

At the root of the EEOC’s allegations was an “inflexible” workers’ compensation leave policy that had the effect of terminating employees rather than seeking and/or arriving at a reasonable accommodation that would yield a return to work. Although only one employee filed a charge, the EEOC claims that pretrial discovery revealed that hundreds of other employees who had taken workers’ comp leave were also terminated without regard for a return to work or an extended leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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