U.S. Chamber Says EEOC Rule Will Have Chilling Effect on Workplace Wellness Programs

Monday, May 16, 2016 - 3:30pm

‘With health care costs continuing to rise, along with rates for obesity and other chronic diseases, workplace wellness programs are needed more than ever,’ says Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson issued the following statement today on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s final rules relating to workplace wellness programs:

“Simply put, EEOC – which has no health care expertise and extremely limited jurisdiction over wellness programs – has created rules that layer complicated, confusing, and contradictory requirements over an area which is already heavily regulated. As a result – even though EEOC accepted some of the Chamber’s suggestions to improve the rules EEOC’s final rules will have a chilling effect on the development, implementation, and innovation of workplace wellness programs, which Congress intended to be used as tools to improve employees’ health and lower health care costs.

“The Chamber has long championed the adoption and expansion of workplace wellness programs, believing them to be a meaningful tool that encourages and rewards positive behavior and healthy life choices – a win-win for both employers and employees. Just as important, the Chamber is a staunch supporter of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its goals, and played a vital role in reaching the compromise that resulted in the bi-partisan passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

“Now, with health care costs continuing to rise, along with rates for obesity and other chronic diseases, workplace wellness programs are needed more than ever. Yet with these rules EEOC has dismissed the endorsements of Congress, the White House, and three Cabinet-level agencies, which collectively have issued clear regulations and support for such programs. Unfortunately, EEOC’s final rules are anything but consistent with the existing laws and regulations governing workplace wellness programs and fail to promote these popular programs which enjoy bi-partisan support.”