U.S. District Court Removes Deadline for EEOC to Issue Proposed Wellness Regulations

On Jan. 18, 2018, the U.S. District Court presiding over the AARP wellness case removed a deadline it recently imposed on the EEOC. As we discussed in the Jan. 9, 2018 edition of Compliance Corner, the court in this case issued a ruling that would set aside the EEOC’s wellness rules in 2019. Part of that ruling, though, required the EEOC to promulgate new proposed rules by Aug. 31, 2018.

The EEOC responded to the Court’s decision by objecting and arguing, among other things, that the Court didn’t have the jurisdiction to require the EEOC to issue proposed rules by a certain date. Instead, they posited that the rulemaking process is within the EEOC’s discretion and subject to the agency’s policy judgment. The Court agreed with that argument and removed the Aug. 31, 2018 deadline.

Unfortunately, this additional ruling doesn’t add much finality to this issue. Instead, the EEOC is still bound by the court’s decision to invalidate the rule on Jan. 1, 2019. So although the EEOC no longer has to issue proposed rules by August 2018, the current rules will still become unenforceable in early 2019.

Ultimately, this means that employers should comply with the EEOC’s rules for the time being and then analyze the issue when deciding how they’re going to proceed in 2019. We’ll continue to monitor this case and provide any additional information. Employers with specific questions should work with outside counsel to assist.

Motion for Partial Reconsideration »