Clear your calendars, call the kids, wake the neighbors. This will be a great AARP v. EEOC webinar. How do we know this? Simple: they are charging non-members money. $30, to be exact. That $30, and the extended, hour-long time allotment, assures all your submitted questions will be answered.
This one is free, and is also an hour. It will offer live Q&A as well. It is much more about the solution — how to make AARP v. EEOC a non-issue by getting your vendor to indemnify you — than the problem. So if you are already aware of the problem and want to solve it posthaste, this is the webinar for you.
Articles and other resources by vendors.
These have been surprisingly hard to come by, and the silence from vendor trade organizations is itself data. These people know there is really no good news for so-called “pry, poke and prod” vendors, other than that their customers can indemnify themselves through Quizzify.
- Bravo’s summary of the pending changes in the rules
- Same summary, but annotated with adjustments for accuracy. While we agree with their concerns, their solution falls short of the Quizzify solution, which is to have your vendor indemnify you. I’m not sure why they don’t offer a one-stop solution like that.
Articles by commentators other than me
Because Quizzify knew this decision was coming and designed the product to be a one-stop solution to achieve 100% compliance with whatever the new rules (if any), most of the interpretative “what does this all mean” articles are indeed by me. However, others have weighed in:
- A federal judge takes aim at “voluntary” company wellness programs that invade your privacy Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Michael Hiltzik commentary in Los Angeles Times essay.
- Vacating an EEOC rule on wellness programs. The New York Times-affiliated The Incidental Economist provides a good historical perspective on how this decision came to be.
- Wellness Companies React to EEOC Rule Upheaval. Workforce’s Andie Burjek is following developments closely. This vendor-on-the-street reaction piece is one of several she will likely do.
- AARP wins victory for workers’ civil rights. This is AARP’s own blog on the subject.
- Wellness incentives are not dead yet. This is by Barbara Zabawa, who is our wellness attorney — and should be yours, to prevent employee lawsuits in 2019, unless you get the Quizzify indemnification. It’s a great summary, but it preceded the January 16th motion described below, in which the EEOC agreed that these programs should be “voluntary.” As a result of preceding that motion, her view of what constitutes acceptable incentives starting in 2019 is likely overly optimistic.
Articles by me
- Surprising court decision may disallow most wellness incentives. This Employee Benefit News article is largely a Q&A so it’s a good place to start.
- On the contrary, it is almost time to panic. This Shortlister piece should be read in conjunction with the more optimistic Zabawa piece. You can draw your own conclusions. (This opposing view had the advantage of publication after the EEOC’s January 16 motion, unopposed by AARP, asking if they were allowed to wash their hands of rule-making.)
- Five of the most striking observations on AARP v. EEOC. These are five things to keep in mind.
- Five big problems caused by AARP v. EEOC…and one huge solution. This Corporate Wellness issue covers the problems you may face, and the easy, one-step Quizzify solution for them.
- Don’t panic over AARP v. EEOC: Quizzify has your back. Quizzify’s unique AARP-v.-EEOC indemnification gives Quizzify customers and partners their own “safe harbor,” covering not just Quizzify but their entire wellness program provided Quizzify is an option. This article describes how Quizzify solves your problem, period.
Summaries of the Decision
These are all written as news articles rather than opinion, and pretty much all say the same thing:
- AARP v. EEOC: Motion to Vacate Granted
- EEOC’s Wellness Rule to be Thrown Out in January
- EEOC’s Wellness Rules to be Vacated
The follow-up January 16 motion by EEOC
Some people believe that the EEOC actually intends to publish rules by January 2, 2019. While we have no crystal ball, here are some articles describing EEOC’s most recent motion filed January 16, plus a quote from the Justice Department on behalf of EEOC. Draw your own conclusion as to whether this sounds like an agency that is prioritizing wellness rule-writing.
- Judge won’t set EEOC schedule on wellness program rules
- Government wins some freedom for any wellness plan re-do
- EEOC resists judge’s deadline to craft rules for employee wellness programs
Highlight of ruling: “It would also be permissible for the EEOC to decide never to issue such regulations, or for the EEOC to study the issue for several years before commencing a new rulemaking,” the U.S. Justice Department said on behalf of the EEOC.
The actual court decision and follow-up motion
Actual language on “Voluntariness”
There is some difference of opinion on what constitutes a program being “voluntary,” starting in January. It might be helpful to review what Judge Bates said…
A 30% penalty for refusing to provide protected information would double the cost of health insurance for most employees. … At around $1800 a year, this is the equivalent of several months’ worth of food for the average family, two months of child care in most states, and roughly two months’ rent.
…and what EEOC conceded…
Even after [the current rules are struck from the Code of Federal Regulations, for example, the ADA regulation will still require participation in wellness programs to be voluntary … the regulation will simply no longer provide a specific safe harbor for particular levels of incentives.
…before concluding that high incentives are going to be allowed in the future, as wellness vendors are wont to conclude.