Informed Employer: Wellness Program Check-Up, EEOC Finally Issues Proposed Rules Informed Employer: Wellness Program Check-Up, EEOC Finally Issues Proposed Rules

Informed Employer: Wellness Program Check-Up, EEOC Finally Issues Proposed Rules

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High Court Ruling Gives Employers Leverage in EEOC Suits
The U.S. Supreme Court gave companies a new legal tool in fighting job-bias suits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying judges should decide whether the agency took steps to resolve the case before suing. Ruling unanimously in favor of a mining company accused of refusing to hire a woman, the justices said courts have the power to enforce the requirement that the EEOC try to conciliate disputes.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-04-29) Read the full article
OSHA Issues Rule to Boost Protection for Construction Workers
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces. The rule will provide construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers already have.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2015-05-05) Read the full article
Employers Can Fire Workers for Missing Work Due to Illness
Under state and federal law, few legal protections are ironclad for employees who miss work for illness. If attendance is deemed essential, employers have little obligation to extend leave to employees on the job less than a year.
(Source: USA Today, 2015-04-25) Read the full article
SEC Unveils New Executive Pay, Performance Rules
The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 to propose a rule to link the pay of top corporate executives to their companies' financial performance. SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said in a statement that the proposed rules "would better inform shareholders and give them a new metric for assessing a company's executive compensation relative to its financial performance."
(Source: NPR, 2015-04-29) Read the full article
Judge Allows EEOC Transgender Employment Lawsuit to Proceed
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said federal civil rights law doesn't specifically protect a transgender person, but he cited decisions by higher courts and said there's binding legal precedent to protect people who are fired for failing to conform to a gender-based expectation.
(Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015-04-23) Read the full article
Firms Consider Genetic Testing to Keep Track of Workers' Health
Big companies are considering blending genetic testing with coaching on nutrition and exercise to help workers lose weight and improve their health before serious conditions like diabetes or heart disease develop. It's a step beyond typical corporate wellness programs many companies use to make workers more aware of their risk factors and improve their health.
(Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, 2015-05-02) Read the full article
Two-Thirds of Private Companies Expect to Boost Full-Time Workers
Nearly two-thirds of private companies are expecting to hire more fulltime workers this year, though they are increasingly concerned about a lack of qualified workers and growing wage pressure, according to PwC U.S.'s latest Trendsetter Barometer. Headcount at private companies is expected to increase by an average of 2.6 percent, up from the prior quarter's estimate of 1.6 percent, according to the quarterly report.
(Source:, 2015-04-28) Read the full article
Employees Express Importance of Health Benefits
According to a recent survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute -- a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute that focuses on health, savings, retirement, and economic security issues -- the importance of benefits as criteria in choosing jobs remains high among American workers. Health insurance, in particular, continues to be, by far, the most important employee benefit to workers.
(Source: BenefitsPro, 2015-04-27) Read the full article
ACA Mandate Having Little Impact on Hiring, Survey Finds
A new survey suggests that concerns about the economic impact of the Affordable Care Act on U.S. businesses may have been overblown. Critics of the law have forecast that the mandate will have a dampening effect on business, but in a survey of 170 finance professionals conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants, 83 percent of the respondents said they expected it to have little to no impact on their hiring plans in the coming year.
(Source:, 2015-04-29) Read the full article
Companies Offering 4-Day Work-Week to Some Employees
A 4-day -- or compressed -- work-week is offered as an option to at least some employees at 43 percent of companies, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. But only 10 percent of those companies make it available to all or most of their employees.
(Source:, 2015-04-27) Read the full article
Wellness Program Check-Up: EEOC Finally Issues Proposed Rules

Chris Sears

Medical questionnaires and medical examinations often make up a large part of an employer's wellness program. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") places significant limits on an employer's ability to make disability-related inquiries or to require medical examinations. Employers and benefits practitioners have eagerly awaited anticipated guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on how employer wellness programs can be designed in compliance with the ADA. Guidance has also been needed to understand how the ADA's requirements interact with the final wellness regulations issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act by the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services ("Final HIPAA Wellness Program Regulations").

That guidance finally came in the form of a proposed regulation on April 20, 2015 ("EEOC Proposed Rule"). This article traces the tortured history of the enforcement of the ADA against wellness programs and concludes with a discussion of the new EEOC Proposed Rule which provides employers and benefits practitioners with some highly anticipated guidance on how wellness programs might be structured to escape EEOC scrutiny.

Read the full article here.

What Happens in the Warehouse Could Lead to the Courthouse: Appellate Court Affirms $1.4 Million Sexual Harassment Verdict Against Logistics Company

What happens in the warehouse could lead to the courthouse. On April 22, 2015, the sixth circuit appeals court affirmed a $1.4 million jury verdict against New Breed Logistics, a supply chain logistics company, for retaliation and sexual harassment.

Read the full article here.

To learn more, contact Mimi Geswein or any member of Ice Miller's Labor and Employment group.


Using Surveillance in Workers Compensation Cases

Surveillance is a common and sometimes powerful tool that can be used to determine if an injured worker’s claim is valid and/or whether they are committing workers compensation fraud. You should consider using video surveillance in cases involving extended periods of loss time, exposure to a claim that is significant, when the claimant needs an unusually long period of time to recuperate and/or there are indications the accident was not legitimate. Here are a few tips.

To learn more, contact Jennifer McDaniel or any member of Ice Miller's Workers' Compensation group.

2015 Indiana Worker's Compensation Conference

Ice Miller’s Ann Stewart is speaking at the 2015 Indiana Worker's Compensation Conference on June 24 at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. If you are interested in attending, use promotional code 2211 to receive a 10% registration discount.


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