Tag Archives: EEOC

Incentive Based Wellness Programs Vs. American With Disabilities Act Compliance In 2016

With the rise of incentive based wellness programs across the country, employers need to focus on providing incentives to employees who adopt healthy practices rather than punishing those who do not. An employer certainly may adopt voluntary wellness programs, but such programs need to be handled with precision. As wellness programs continue to evolve, they have to fall in line with federal regulations, finding a balance between disparate requirements. Most importantly. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will soon release its long-awaited rules on the interplay between the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and how they affect incentive based wellness programs.

EEOC & Incentive Based Wellness Programs

incentive based wellness programs

Incentive Based Wellness Programs Lead To ADA Compliance Challenges

According to the EEOC, the new rules will amend the regulations concerning the implementation of the equal employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The goal of the ADA amendments is to address the interaction between Title I of the ADA that prohibits employment discrimination, and financial incentives as part of wellness programs promoted by the ACA and offered through group health plans. The question is how to find a balance between incentive based wellness programs and non-discrimination regulations.

Many employers offer a wide range of programs to promote health and prevent disease among their workers. For example, some employers may provide pedometers to encourage employee walking and exercising or pay for gym memberships. EEOC regulations permit employers to conduct medical examinations, which can include obtaining medical histories, as part of a voluntary wellness program. For years, the EEOC’s position has been that “[a] wellness program is ‘voluntary’ as long as an employer neither requires participation nor penalizes employees who do not participate.”

The Shocking Truth Of The EEOC & Wellness Programs

When the EEOC began suing employers in 2015 about the discriminatory aspects of their wellness programs, HR leaders were put on notice. If you have a program in place or are thinking about starting a wellness program, confusion is sure to follow. According to legal experts and other interested observers, the EEOC’s legal actions, based on violations of the ADA and Title I, are in direct conflict with the ACA, which encourages wellness programs for employees.

Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy at the National Business Group on Health, points out that the conflicting messages would give any employer “reason to pause… We believe the EEOC needs to issue clear guidance that recognizes the importance of wellness programs and encourages employers to continue to offer them… In the meantime, employers should again review their programs for compliance, particularly the incentives, and clearly communicate alternative ways to obtain them.”

Be Careful With Your Company’s Wellness Program

After many companies have invested a huge amount of time and money into making sure that their wellness programs comply with the ACA, the EEOC is now coming “out of left field” with a whole new set of rules and regulations to impose on these programs. Gretchen Young, senior vice president for health policy with the ERISA Industry Committee, believes the danger in terms of wellness programs is that, “The EEOC has apparently decided that it will be playing by a different set of rules, with no forewarning to companies whatsoever.”

For now, the best strategy for employers is to understand the risk associated with your wellness program, and then think about the things you can do to mitigate that risk. Employee education can help participants understand why wellness is important and what the employer is doing to help. Employers also can provide alternatives to the incentive based rewards within their wellness programs that can be accessed by every employee regardless of physical condition or potential disability. A perfect example of a non-incentive based wellness bonuses are adding more healthy alternatives to cafeteria menus or vending machines.

Total HR Management Can Help

Employers need guidance regarding the ADA and wellness programs, and Total HR Management can help. A major component is reserving the right to change your plan should the need arise. By including the reservation of rights in the written description of a company’s wellness program, your company can make changes as federal regulations shift with the greater tide.

Although Total HR Management supports the positive health benefits of wellness programs, we also advise our client companies to be careful in light of the current federal discrepancies. To learn more about how to implement a wellness program that navigates the balance, please call Total HR today at (800) 975-5128 to set-up an HR audit.



No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

How A PEO Helps With EPLI Coverage And The Challenge Of Ongoing Compliance

Do you know how a professional employer organization can help your company with EPLI coverage and the challenge of ongoing compliance? Commonly referred to as EPLI coverage, Employment Practices Liability Insurance is additional insurance coverage a company can use to protect the business from lawsuits brought on by a former, current or even future employee. As part of our compliance series where we detail such challenges, Total HR Management demonstrates why your company should work with a PEO.

Importance of EPLI Coverage

In a time when entitled employees are looking for reasons to file lawsuits, EPLI Coverage is more important than ever. It allows you to sleep at night, knowing your company is safe. Total HR Management has seen several successful businesses damaged beyond repair when employee lawsuits came without the safety net of EPLI coverage. The goal of effective human resources management is to avoid such unnecessary damage.

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Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs EPLI Coverage Today

A major reason to work with a professional employer organization (PEO) like Total HR Management is easy and reliable access to quality EPLI coverage. Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) is honestly no longer a choice for the vast majority of business owners, but a necessity of guaranteed survival and future prosperity. Without EPLI coverage, charges brought on by disgruntled employees for discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation can sink your company.

EPLI Coverage Has Become Essential

epli coverage

EPLI Coverage Now Essential

Did you know that such charges are at an all-time high? Even if you have an old liability policy, many such policies were not vetted by EPLI professionals. As a result, they fail to cover exposure to many of the above potential lawsuits. In addition, even when they do cover such lawsuits, the limits provided are dwarfed by potential settlements and judgments. When it comes to EPLI coverage, the stakes are too high to make a mistake.

Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs EPLI Coverage:

1. 3 out of 5 employers are sued by former employees every year with over 40% of those EPL claims coming against firms with fewer than 100 employees.

2. The financial ramifications of not having EPL insurance can be crippling.
Most small companies lack the operating budgets to handle defense costs for a court case, let alone settlements or judgments.

3. The median compensatory award to plaintiffs is $325,000. In 2012, there were more than $365 million in settlements reported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

4. EPLI covers not only actual but also alleged acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and other similar acts. Such alleged acts are more common with gender discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation claims increasing as the modern workforce grows more diverse.

5) General Liability insurance policies do not cover EPLI. Many business owners make the mistake of grouping the two together. Any endorsement to another policy does not offer the breadth of coverage of a separate EPL policy with insufficient limits in terms of liability.

Call Total HR Management To Learn More

If these five reasons are not enough to convince you, please call Total HR Management and talk to one of our HR professionals. Let us present to you why EPLI coverage and PEO support can help your company. Our goal as a co-employer is to ensure the safety and security of your company so you can focus on what you do best – growing your business and being productive. The last thing you need is the deadly distraction like a mosquito with malaria of a court case against your company without EPLI coverage.

EPLI In The 21st Century Is A Necessity For Employers

A Two-Part Look At EPLI In The 21st Century

Part 2 – 7 Reasons Why EPLI Is A Necessity

epli in the 21st century, employment practices liability insurance

EPLI & Modern Employees

In Part 2, Total HR Management lays out 7 reasons why EPLI in the 21st century is a necessity. To begin with, you need to understand what employment practices liability insurance covers. In general, EPLI provides coverage for your company for the following problems: wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace torts.

As examined in part 1, the 21st century has seen an increase in employee lawsuits on account of the recent recession. The brutal truth is you never know when an employee might turn on your company. How many basic misunderstandings or case of mixed signals end up morphing like a monster into an employee lawsuit?

This is why EPLI in the 21st century is no longer a choice for any smart and capable small to mid-sized company.

7 Reasons Why EPLI In The 21st Century Is A Necessity:

  1. Employees file over 90,000 charges per year with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  2. Employee lawsuits and discrimination charges excluded under standard general liability policies
  3. Every employer can be the target of legal action from past, present, and prospective employees
  4. Employees can file lawsuits at no cost, with no direct risk
  5. Employees win 70% of jury trials
  6. Employer defense costs can easily exceed $200,000
  7. Midsize businesses with 15 to 250 employees are sued more frequently than larger businesses, often due to:
  • Inadequate human resources management
  • Ineffective loss prevention programs
  • Valuable unprotected assets targeted

When it comes to the company you run as an executive or if you have built the business up from the ground floor, allowing your profitable ship to be sunk by an employee lawsuit is just crazy. You need to be protected by employment practices liability insurance. EPLI in the 21st century is no longer a choice. It is a necessity.

To learn more about EPLI coverage and how the tailored services of a PEO like Total HR Management can help your company, please contact Total HR Management by calling (800) 975-5128 or emailing our human resources outsourcing experts at


No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions.  Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.


Total HR Questions & Answers #4: Are Criminal Background Checks On New Employees Still Important For Employers To Do?

criminal background checks, peo

Human Resources Questions

In Total HR Questions & Answers, our PEO (professional employer organization) experts provide answers to questions posed in the present and the past by the management teams of our client companies and potential clients. The goal is to provide professional human resources oriented answers to challenging questions. The fourth question in this ongoing series is about whether or not criminal background checks on new employees are still important for employers to do.

About Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are a time drain. Now the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is cracking down on criminal background check procedures. Are criminal background checks on new employees still important for employers to do?

Federal regulations curbing criminal background checks by employers have resulted in nine state attorneys general filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Despite the FBI offering the service of fingerprint background checks, the new guidelines were put into place by the Obama administration in an effort to curtail discrimination, especially against African-Americans. Despite the controversy about the new guidelines, the EEOC crackdown remains a problem for employers

Criminal Background Checks Important

Criminal background checks are still an important part of the hiring process, although it can depend upon the type of job and the nature of the specific industry. Some jobs, including those in finance, health care, government, child care and teaching, require criminal background checks and the disqualification of candidates convicted of certain crimes. In those industries, it is not an option, but a requirement to do criminal background checks.

In other industries, criminal background checks can help reduce disciplinary issues, reduce turnover and foster employee satisfaction by increasing the quality of people in your office. More importantly, a company could be held responsible for injuries and damages caused by an employee if they failed to do a criminal background check when hiring. Examples range from hiring a convicted stalker who harasses a colleague to hiring a truck driver with a number of DUIs who then causes an accident.

If you have any questions, please contact Total HR Management for help by calling (800) 975-5128 or emailing our human resources outsourcing experts at

No Legal Advice Intended

No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.

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