According to Human Resource Executive
, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not yet decided what the term "voluntary" means for employee wellness programs but companies should still implement plans and reduce their risk of violating discrimination laws, experts said.
They suggested including wellness as part of a company benefits program, making sure employees know programs are voluntary, taking steps to avoid discrimination against employees with disabilities or based on age, and ensuring goals can be achieved in a fair way.Employers wishing to take advantage of the larger incentives available under the ACA need to be especially aware of the regulations describing how to create alternative standards for employees who cannot feasibly achieve the health outcome expected under the program.
The article also describes how the EEOC has flip-flopped between positions in recent years, and how there is currently a split among federal appellate circuit courts about interpretation of the laws, so employers - especially multi-state employers - need to be mindful of what the standards are in their specific areas. Potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also come into play when designing wellness programs.