The final rules released by the EEOC regarding the applicability of the ADA and GINA to workplace wellness programs include provisions relating to issuing notice to employees when collecting their health information. This notice does not need to be signed by the employee, but it does need to contain certain elements, such as what information you are collecting, who will see it and why, and what you will do to protect the information. A sample notice is available on the EEOC website, or on this website, here. An authorization, on the other hand, usually requires a signature to demonstrate that the person authorizing the action has indeed given their permission. GINA requires individuals who provide their “genetic information” to give their authorization. Genetic information for workplace wellness programs often means family medical history questions on a health risk assessment for employees, and health risk assessments or biometric screens for an employee’s family members, including spouses and adopted children. Although the EEOC did not provide a sample authorization form, the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC has one available for its clients; an authorization form that complies with GINA must contain certain provisions, similar to the provisions needed for the ADA notice.
So, if you create or implement workplace wellness programs that collect health or genetic information from participants, make sure you provide the participant with notice for ADA compliance and with an authorization for GINA compliance. Also, don’t bury your notice or authorization in a bunch of other text. Be clear. Be up front. Give the participant ample opportunity to understand what information they are disclosing and why.
If you have any questions relating to the ADA and GINA notice/authorization requirements, contact the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC. We are here to help.