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Old 01-26-2005, 07:00 PM   #1
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If you smoke...

then you're fired!




Company fires employees for smoking test

January 24, 2005

LANSING, Mich. --Four employees of a health care company have been fired for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke cigarettes.

Weyco Inc., a health benefits administrator based in Okemos, Mich., adopted a policy Jan. 1 that allows employees to be fired if they smoke, even if the smoking happens after business hours or at home.

Company founder Howard Weyers has said the anti-smoking rule was designed to shield the firm from high health care costs. "I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said.

The rule led one employee to quit before the policy was adopted. Four others were fired when they balked at the smoking test.

Chief Financial Officer Gary Climes estimated that 18 to 20 of the company's 200 employers were smokers when the policy was announced in 2003. Of those, as many as 14 quit smoking before the policy went into effect. The company offered them help to kick the habit.

"That is absolutely a victory," Climes said.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...g_test?mode=PF
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:05 PM   #2
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Ridiculous, people should have the right to smoke ~ while emphysema is not a good way to die I do not think that this big brother prohibitive mentality is good. People should be free to make their own dumb choices.
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:28 PM   #3
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Yeah, that's just retarded. I agree with A.W. (Is this a first, my friend? )
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:51 PM   #4
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I think you two might have missed the point. The company simply doens't want to deal with high health care costs; and smokers are high risk.

'Company founder Howard Weyers has said the anti-smoking rule was designed to shield the firm from high health care costs. "I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said.'

I don't really care if people smoke(as long as I don't have to breathe it in.) I think that firing these people was a bit extreme...why not just take away their health care and let them pay for it on their own if they want to do something as unhealthy as smoking?
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:15 PM   #5
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I think firing them is a little ridiculous. Can there be an acceptable ground by not giving smokers special privileges, such as smoke breaks, in addition to their other breaks? Would that be more acceptable?
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:30 PM   #6
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that's dumb. What's next, are they going to fire everyone who's fat cause they are afraid of medical costs? Why not stop there, let's give employees health exams before hiring them to make sure they don't have any other health problems like diabetes or a heart condition.
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by ILuvLarryMullen
that's dumb. What's next, are they going to fire everyone who's fat cause they are afraid of medical costs? Why not stop there, let's give employees health exams before hiring them to make sure they don't have any other health problems like diabetes or a heart condition.
If an employer wants to keep health care costs down, they have every right to have a physician decide if a person is a risk or not. Sorry to say, but obese people, people with high cholesterol, people who smoke raise the company health care costs for everyone else.

Maybe if people in at risk categories get hit in their wallet a bit, they might be persuaded to quit smoking or downing their big macs every day.

P.S. Every job I've ever had has required me to get a physical before being hired and recieving any health benefits.
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
I think firing them is a little ridiculous. Can there be an acceptable ground by not giving smokers special privileges, such as smoke breaks, in addition to their other breaks? Would that be more acceptable?
Yes firing them was unacceptable. I think that if a company doesn't want to foot the bill for a smokers medical bills, then simply drop the workers company rated health care and make them go out and get it on their own.
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:53 PM   #9
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you're right, it's better to let them all die because they don't see a doctor until it's too late because they have to health insurance.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:21 PM   #10
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Originally posted by ILuvLarryMullen
you're right, it's better to let them all die because they don't see a doctor until it's too late because they have to health insurance.
Hey, if people eat crappy and get fat, smoke and get emphysema or do whatever bad thing, then they're responsible for their heath, not their employer.

People are in control of there own destiny when it comes to smoking, overeating..ect.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:31 PM   #11
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ImOuttaControl, grant that I often agree with you, obesity is not always the result of overeating, and heart problems are often hereditary as well. There is a line between being fair with your employees and doing nothing for them, when everyone else is.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
ImOuttaControl, grant that I often agree with you, obesity is not always the result of overeating, and heart problems are often hereditary as well. There is a line between being fair with your employees and doing nothing for them, when everyone else is.
I look at it this way. My father is in charge of an insurance company for basically the state of MN, so I've been around the insurance/health care thing my whole life. When someone gets health insurance, they have to go through a physical examination to determine the risk level(smoking..ect) and therefore the cost of their healthcare. All I'm saying is that if people, particularily smokers in this case, should simply pay extra for their company healthcare.

I know obesity is often based on genetics, I was mainly using that as an example. But EVERYONE can change whether or not they smoke and become many times healthier by quitting. I don't think an employer should foot the bill for people who smoke and in the long run have health problems; because they do so willingly. (yes I know it's addictive, but everyone has the power to break that addiction)
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by ImOuttaControl


If an employer wants to keep health care costs down, they have every right to have a physician decide if a person is a risk or not.
Which would lead to discrimination against people with HIV, for example.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I look at it this way. My father is in charge of an insurance company for basically the state of MN, so I've been around the insurance/health care thing my whole life. When someone gets health insurance, they have to go through a physical examination to determine the risk level(smoking..ect) and therefore the cost of their healthcare. All I'm saying is that if people, particularily smokers in this case, should simply pay extra for their company healthcare.
This is reasonable to me (though I am for national health care), but to deny them health insurance all together (as what you said sounded like) or to fire them (as in the case of the article) is not.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:57 PM   #15
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Which would lead to discrimination against people with HIV, for example.
So do we force companies to give health care to high risk individuals? I'm sorry, but the health insurance world already is highly discriminatory and it's perfectly legal. High risk people have to pay more, because the insurance companies have to pay more costs. If it got to that point where we force companies to give cheap health care to high risk individuals, most companies would quit offering it altogether and let people fend for their own healthcare. A lot of companies have already begun dropping health care for all their employees because costs are simply too high.
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