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Company Fires All Employees Who Smoke

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by LoKyBuckeye, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. LoKyBuckeye

    LoKyBuckeye I give up. This board is too hard to understand. Staff Member

    Company Fires All Employees Who Smoke
    Michigan Firm Won't Allow Smoking, Even On Employee's Own Time

    UPDATED: 1:58 PM EST January 25, 2005

    LANSING, Mich. -- A Michigan health care company has fired four of its employees for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke cigarettes.

    The company enacted a new policy this month, allowing workers to be fired if they smoke, even if the smoking takes place after-hours, or at home.

    The founder of Weyco Inc. said the company doesn't want to pay the higher health care costs associated with smoking.

    An official of the company -- which administers health benefits -- estimated that 18 to 20 of its 200 employees were smokers when the policy was first announced in 2003. As many as 14 of them quit smoking before the policy went into effect.

    On the company's Web site, it states:

    Weyco Inc. is a non-smoking company that strongly supports its employees in living healthy lifestyles.
    Distributed by Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  2. Wingate1217

    Wingate1217 Bring on the next opponent!!

    Oh, can you just see the attorneys knocking each other over in their rush to be able to litigate this one!
  3. tibor75

    tibor75 Banned

    All hospitals should do this. It's a joke that patients go to their appointments having to wade through the fatass nurses and techs smoking by the door.
  4. creekman

    creekman Newbie

    This is the first thing I have ever agreed with Tibor on.
  5. Wingate1217

    Wingate1217 Bring on the next opponent!!

    I don't have a problem regulating the work space, but what Ii do on my own time is my business, along as it is not illegal. What are they going to regulate next, beer drinking, eating at Burger King, etc.?
  6. RugbyBuck

    RugbyBuck Our church has no bells.

    What would they litigate? You don't have a right to be employed by a company.

    They're not regulating it, they're just saying that you can't work for them if you do it.
  7. coastalbuck

    coastalbuck And this one belongs to the Reds! Staff Member

    No, you don't have a right to work for them, you do have a right not to be wrongfully terminated!!!

    A company cannot control what you do away from the workplace. You can drink, you can be black, white, Canadian, gay, stupid , or play Rugby. You could probably fire them if they refused to take a test, you probably could not fire them if they failed. What a stupid company, considering they probably make most of their money because of unhealthy people!
  8. NJ-Buckeye

    NJ-Buckeye They Hate Us cuz They Ain't Us.. Banners are good Staff Member

    reminds me of a meeting I attended forever ago with one of the tobacco companies... Phillip Morris or somebody... 30 people at the table... and every one of them had a cigarette in front of them... but what was really funny is that you could tell at least 10 of them were just dying trying to drag on a cig... can you imagine the room... well, it was even worse...

    same discrimination only in total reverse... heard it's still going on...
  9. Alan

    Alan Banned

    i believe michigan is an employee at will state and employers can fire an employee for whatever reason they feel is appropriate....

    as to the assertion that it is legal to is legal to drink, but an employee cannot go just outside the doors and shotgun a beer every hour and return to work....

    my own opinion is that smoking needs to become like other legal activities....they are ok at home, but not in the workplace.....

    the smokers i work with miss at least 2 hours a day going outside to smoke and hang out with their peers.....

    meanwhile....the non-smokers get their asses chewed if they go across the street to buy a bagel in the morning....and that takes 10 minutes tops....
  10. OSUsushichic

    OSUsushichic Fired up! Ready to go! Staff Member

    When my father was going through chemo, I was amazed at how many nurses on the oncology ward smoked. They see patients dying of lung cancer every day, and yet they can't wait to light up on their next break. It's just mind-boggling.

    Just recently the country of Bhutan has outlawed smoking (made it illegal to smoke in public or sell tobacco). Can you imagine an entire country going through withdrawal?

  11. scooter1369

    scooter1369 Chief Toad Fart

    I have the feeling this company is going to lose its ass in court.
  12. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    This is long overdue. And yes, if they can track that you are eating two-whoppers a day at BKing and want to fire you for that also - more power to them.

    There is a strong correlation between smoking and poor health, missed work, and increased health care costs. (Just as there is for obesity.) This ain't made up - it is real and with overwhelming evidence.

    In the 70's I worked in a small office with poor ventilatin and several smokers who smoked at their desks. At that time you didn't dare challenge their 'right' to smoke. (I was also in the military so quitting wasn't an option.) Now everytime I see smokers having to bend over and take it in the rear I jump up and down and clap my hands like a little girl.

    Screw your rights. Step up and take some responsibility for a change!

    If these employees were ready to decline health care coverage and sick leave I might reconsider - but in that case the lawyers would have something to litigate.
  13. Thump

    Thump Hating the environment since 1994

    I heard on the news last night that after Johnny Carson had quadruple bypass surgery, he continued to smoke.

    That's freaking sad that he was hooked that bad.

    I have to agree with Tibor that it's disgusting to walk into a hospital and see about 7 nurses smoking in that little glass enclosed smoking room. :pimp:
  14. Wingate1217

    Wingate1217 Bring on the next opponent!!

    Guys the problem is not what you do at the workplace or at a place of business. I agree that the employer has the right to ask you not to do scertain behaviors while at work. I do not agree they have the right to ask you to refrain from legal behavior in your privacy of your own home. If I want to smoke (and pay I might add a higher health, and life insurance premium) that is MY BUSINESS! Some of the previous posters have suggested that the employer has the right to ask you to quit the behavior to lower their costs. While it may make good(?) business sense, I ask you where are going to draw the line. With that reasoning it would be okay to terminate older workers because as we all know that older people have a higher instance of health related issues and costs. We don't allow this and this is no different. Although I do not smoke and I abhor the habit, it is legal to smoke in this country (at least in your own home, public areas are a different issue). Until tobacco smoking is illegal I will defend a person's right to do so in the privacy of their own home. The state and federal gov't will never do this since they are addicted to the tax income they receive.
  15. Xevious

    Xevious Recovering Arcade Junkie

    Apparently it's legal in TSUN.

    Firing Smokers Is Wrong Way to Curb Health Costs<!--/head-->
    <!--deck-->Using tobacco becomes a firing offense at one Okemos company<!--/deck-->

    <STORYTEXT><!--byline-->The Detroit News<!--/byline-->

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    An Okemos company that has snuffed out smokers' jobs to curb health care costs has taken a radical step toward trying to reduce one of businesses' biggest expenditures. Unfortunately, it has gone too far.

    Weyco Inc., a medical-benefits administration company, no longer will employ anyone who smokes -- including those who light up during their time off from work. Four employees resigned at the end of December because they refused to quit smoking.

    Last week, the remaining 200 employees all were tested for tobacco use and more could find their way to the unemployment line because they're addicted to nicotine. The company no longer will hire anyone who uses any form of tobacco.

    Howard Weyers, president of the company, said his decision goes beyond the bottom line. He refused to disclose how much money he'd save by dismissing tobacco users from the ranks, but said taking such drastic action was needed because increasing health care costs were choking his business. That may be true, but discriminating against a class of people for engaging in something that's legal is wrong. There are ways to cut costs that don't infringe on people's personal lives. The company easily could have made smokers' health care costs too expensive to continue the habit. Weyers said he didn't think that was a viable solution.

    Weyco's employees knew the change was coming. Michigan does not have strict smokers' rights laws so the company's mandate is legal. The company will continue to employ one smoker in Illinois, which has laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against smokers.

    In 2003, Weyco employees were told they'd have to stop smoking and using other tobacco products or they'd lose their jobs. Smoking was banned completely from the company's property and new hires were tested for tobacco use.

    The company also began a testing program. Employees who tested negative for tobacco use didn't have to pay a monthly fee of $50. Those who tested positive had to pay the $50 if they didn't agree to go to smoking cessation classes.

    Weyers said the breath tests that are used don't register second-hand smoke so those who have friends or relatives who light up won't be forced out. Anyone who tests positive will have to take additional tests to prove they don't smoke.

    All this is too much. Will the company next target overweight workers? Obesity is at least as big a health threat as smoking and also adds health care costs that the company and others have to absorb. Will the overweight be forced out? Weyers says no, but the slope on which he's standing is slippery.

    Weyco has a lifestyle coach and other incentives for living a healthy lifestyle. That's a preferable manner in which to deal with bad habits. Trying to control people's lives outside of the office is not.

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