Court Denies Injunction of EEOC Wellness Program Rules

A federal judge found AARP did not prove irreparable harm to its members and is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its case.

By Rebecca Moore | January 04, 2017
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A federal court has denied AARP’s move for a preliminary injunction of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wellness programs to enjoin the applicability of these regulations pending the court’s resolution of the merits.

The AARP filed a lawsuit alleging that the EEOC’s final wellness program rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law. The AARP asked that the rules be invalidated.

The AARP started its complaint by saying that the EEOC rightly argued in 2014 in a lawsuit against Honeywell International that because an employer imposed heavy penalties on employees through a coercive wellness program, employees stood to “lose the fundamental privilege under the ADA and GINA to keep private information private.” Yet, the complaint says, in 2016, the EEOC issued regulations under the ADA and GINA that allow employers to impose heavy financial penalties on employees who do not participate in employee wellness programs. On average, these penalties would double or even triple those employees’ individual health insurance costs, the AARP claims.

The EEOC argues that AARP has failed to establish that it has associational standing to bring this challenge on behalf of its members. It also argues that AARP has failed to satisfy the requirements for a preliminary injunction.

NEXT: AARP has standing, but doesn’t show irreparable harm