Tag Archives: disabled

Could Your Wellness Program Be Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Wellness programs are a great way to boost employee morale and promote the whole work and life balance at an organization. But could financial incentives for a wellness program be a negative issue for employees with disabilities?  

According to a recent court ruling in Broward County, Florida: It is not a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for an employer to require employees to participate in a wellness plan, or face a $20 surcharge on insurance premiums.  

As stated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, “The wellness program is not a subterfuge; it was not designed to evade the purpose of the ADA. Rather, it is a valid term of a benefits plan that falls within the ambit of the ADA’s safe harbor provision.”  

Related to this case on wellness program incentives in the past, the EEOC has loosely suggested that any wellness program that is mandatory or involves a penalty violates the Act.  

While no guidelines have been issued at this point, employers and HR should be cautious and check with a legal expert about this wellness incentive.  

Read the Tech Republic article

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Disability Law Changes to Impact Small Businesses

According to BusinessWeek, in 2010, there were 25,165 disability discrimination charges filed with the EEOC, up from 21,451 charges in fiscal year 2009. Now starting in May, numerous small businesses will be impacted by a few major amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

The new regulations specify a whole list of impairments that the EEOC recognizes, including: deafness, blindness, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, and major depression. In September 2008, the ADA was officially amended, and now these changes will be enforceable.  

However, instead of placing the burden of providing proof solely on the employee, the revised Act seeks to hold employers responsible. The message is clear that instead of an employer or HR focusing on whether an employee is disabled, they should focus on the potential discrimination and accommodation they can make available.  

For small businesses, this compliance may cost them more money and resources to respond to claims.  

The EEOC estimated that up to 38 million disabled people may be impacted as a result of these changes, plus businesses may end up spending between $60 million to $180 million to provide reasonable accommodation and any legal costs.  

Read the BusinessWeek article  

Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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New ADA Regulations Just Issued EEOC Rules Mean Virtually Everyone Is Disabled

No, I’m not joking with that title. The EEOC’s rules are mostly straight-forward and unsurprising. But leading employment law firm Seyfarth Shaw goes on to tell us:

“What is surprising, and doubtless game-changing, is the agency’s decision to list conditions that, according to the EEOC, will “virtually always” be covered impairments. The EEOC says those impairments are not per se disabilities, as it must if the new regulations are to resemble the original statute. Yet, by characterizing listed conditions as “virtually always” covered, the agency has in effect labeled tens of millions of Americans disabled.

The EEOC did not stop there. Rejecting the views of business organizations and employment attorneys, the EEOC has made clear that any impairment – no matter how brief in duration – can be a covered disability. By those changes and others, the EEOC’s new regulations will further burden employers, not only with compliance challenges but also litigation that will inevitably follow the EEOC’s expansive approach.”

Well. Good luck, HR, and enjoy it, lawyers!!


New ADA Regulations Just Issued EEOC Rules Mean Virtually Everyone Is Disabled

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