Employment Practices: Has the EEOC Gone Too Far?
In the past year, we’ve talked a lot about Employment Practices Liability (EPL), due to the high volume of cases we’ve seen in this realm. The EEOC has been aggressively proactive from day one, and due to this your clients are increasingly facing allegations from employees for discrimination, harassment, FMLA violations, unfair pay, and more.
These claims cause damage to a company’s reputation and can be financially devastating as well. As reported in a recent article published by Employee Benefit News, however, the EEOC may be going too far in some cases.
At a U.S. Senate committee hearing on employer-sponsored wellness programs Thursday, the EEOC came under fire as witnesses questioned the uncertainty that has resulted from EEOC lawsuits against some employers who offer incentive-based wellness profiles.
Eric Drieband, partner in law firm Jones day and attendant at the hearing, stated that employers regularly face the threat of investigations and lawsuits by the EEOC, even in cases where those employers implement their wellness plans in full compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
“The EEOC’s flip-flopping,” says Driband, “its investigations and litigation perpetuate confusing and uncertainty. None of this serves the public good and if the executive branch of the government will not end this sorry state of affairs, then Congress should do so by enacting legislation.”
Jennifer Mathis, director of programs at Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, who testified at the Senate meeting on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, stated that she had concerns about the potential of some wellness programs to discriminate against individuals with disabilities if applicable laws like the ADA are not followed, but continued on to say that “we hope the EEOC will soon issue guidance or regulations to clarify the ADA’s application to wellness programs. Such clarification would benefit both employers and employees.
At PL Risk Advisors, we understand the how frustrating it can be for your clients to implement helpful programs for their employees while still complying with all applicable rules and regulations. This is why we offer comprehensive Employment Practice Liability Insurance. Whether your client is the head of a large corporation or a small business owner, EPLI should be part of their comprehensive insurance program. To learn more about our EPLI policies as well as the other products we offer, please contact us today at (855) 403-5982.