The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is holding a public meeting this Wednesday, May 8, 2013, to discuss how wellness programs should be treated under various federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and other statutes enforced by the EEOC.

The EEOC will hear from at least seven confirmed panelists who will discuss the interaction between the above statutes and wellness programs with an emphasis on how these laws might be implicated.

The meeting will be an open session beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507.

As we noted in an earlier post, the EEOC regulations, and the EEOC’s Interpretive and Enforcement Guidance permit employers to conduct voluntary medical examinations, including voluntary medical histories, as part of a voluntary employee wellness program. In a formal 2000 Guidance, the EEOC stated that "[a] wellness program is ‘voluntary’ as long as an employer neither requires participation nor penalizes employees who do not participate." The employer community has long-awaited guidance from the EEOC on the nature and extent of incentives employers can offer in their wellness plans. Perhaps this meeting will begin the process leading to that EEOC guidance.