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Quit Smoking or Quit Your Job, U.S. Company Says

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quit Smoking or Quit Your Job, U.S. Company Says

Thoughts?
post #2 of 17
That's interesting. I think it's illegal somehow. If it could work, it could change a lot of things. I wonder if humans are getting lazy, and letting their health go? I know a lot of smokers that would throw a fit if anyone tried that with them. I can see the health benefits though, once a person can quit. I wonder how the people who stayed and quit smoking feel? Do they feel better without cigarettes in their lives?
post #3 of 17
Legally it can probably stand. They are talking about this on the talk show I'm listening to right now. Since it isn't a government run or subsidized company, it offers "at will" employment. And since smoking and being overweight (the next on the chopping block according to the article) aren't covered by discimination laws, there isn't a legal precident saying he can't demand that of his employees.

I guess I can see both sides. I can see where it could cost a company more to employ smokers and fat people than skinny health nuts. At the same time, I personally wouldn't work there if those demands were made because I don't want the government or my employer to tell me how to live outside of work. If the concern is the cost of healthcare, then have employees pay for additional healthcare coverage over a base cost for healthy individuals. Will the company lose out on some prime employees because of their Big-Brother ideas? Possibly.

And where does it end? OK, smoking is widely accepted as being a personal vice that is very unhealthy. Next he wants to target fat people, which is sometimes because of personal vice, and sometimes because of health and genetic conditions. Do you need a note from your doctor, "Jim Jones is overweight because of a thyroid problem, please keep employing him."?? If a person has a medical condition or takes prescriptions that causes weight gain, could they still be fired? Is the next step - If you drink any alcohol you're fired? If you don't eat organic? If you eat red meat?
post #4 of 17
It reminds me of this joke - Ordering Pizza in 2008

Operator: Thank you for calling Pizza Hut. May I have your national ID number?

Customer: Hi, I'd like to place an order.

Operator: I must have your NIDN first, sir.

Customer: My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it's 02049998-45-54610.

Operator: Thank you Mr. Sheehan. I see you live at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number is 494-2366. Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302 and your cell number is 266-2566. Email address is sheehan@home,net. Which number are you calling from sir?

Customer: Huh? I'm at home. Where'd you get all this information?

Operator: We're wired into the HSS, sir.

Customer: The HSS, what is that?

Operator: We're wired into the Homeland Security System, sir. This will add only 15 seconds to your ordering time.

Customer: (sighs) Oh well, I'd like to order a couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas.

Operator: I don't think that's a good idea, sir.

Customer: Whaddya mean?

Operator: Sir, your medical records and commode sensors indicate that you've got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your National Health Care provider won't allow such an unhealthy choice.

Customer: What?!?! What do you recommend then?

Operator: You might try our low-fat Soybean Pizza. I'm sure you'll like it.

Customer: What makes you think I'd like something like that?

Operator: Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from your local library last week. That's why I made the suggestion.

Customer: All right, all right. Give me two family-sized ones, then.

Operator: That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four kids.. Your 2 dogs can finish the crusts, sir. Your total is $49.99.

Customer: Lemme give you my credit card number.

Operator: I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash. Your credit card balance is over its limit.

Customer: I'll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your driver gets here.

Operator: That won't work either, sir. Your checking account is overdrawn also.

Customer: Never mind! Just send the pizzas. I'll have the cash ready. How long will it take?

Operator: We're running a little behind, sir. It'll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you're in a hurry you might want to pick'em up while you're out getting the cash, but then, carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little awkward.

Customer: Wait! How do you know I ride a motorcycle?

Operator: It says here you're in arrears on your car payments, so your car got repo'ed. But your Harley's paid for and you just filled the tank yesterday.

Customer: Well, I'll be a #%#^^&$%^$@#

Operator: I'd advise watching your language, sir. You've already got a July 4, 2003 conviction for cussing out a cop and another one I see here in September for contempt at your hearing for cussing at a judge. Oh yes, I see here that you just got out from a 90 day stay in the State Correctional Facility. Is this your first pizza since your return to society?

Customer: (speechless)

Operator: Will there be anything else, sir?

Customer: Yes, I have a coupon for a free 2 liter of Coke..

Operator: I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soda to diabetics. The New Constitution prohibits this. Thank you for calling Pizza Hut.
post #5 of 17
Great joke, Kellye - it says it all!
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
Great joke, Kellye - it says it all!
It certainly does.

Much as I dislike smoking, I wouldn't be happy about a situation where an employer could make quitting a condition of continued employment. By all means cite higher health care costs, and institute a surcharge on health care premiums; by all means make the workplace a "no smoking" area, to protect non-smokers from second hand smoke; but I still think it's a matter of personal choice whether to smoke or not, so long as you do it in a way that does not impact other people's health -- and it's therefore inappropriate to link it to employment.
post #7 of 17
It just doesn't seem right to fire people that were hired as smokers. Choosing to stop hiring smokers is a lot easier to understand. I'm curious how hard this man is to work for otherwise. Since 20 people actually quit smoking and stayed, maybe he's not so bad. On the other hand, good jobs can be hard to find. To me, the guy sounds like a tyrant.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47
It certainly does.

Much as I dislike smoking, I wouldn't be happy about a situation where an employer could make quitting a condition of continued employment. By all means cite higher health care costs, and institute a surcharge on health care premiums; by all means make the workplace a "no smoking" area, to protect non-smokers from second hand smoke; but I still think it's a matter of personal choice whether to smoke or not, so long as you do it in a way that does not impact other people's health -- and it's therefore inappropriate to link it to employment.
Exactly Fran. I understand discouraging it, and there are certainly ways to do that. No smoking on the premesis of the workplace, for example. Limiting and monitoring breaks so people aren't taking 8-10 smoke breaks a day (which I do understand cuts tremendously into productivity!). But outright making it a condition of employment I think is wrong, and it bothers me even more that he thinks he can mandate how they eat and/or exercize next.
post #9 of 17
I do not believe that a company can dictate what its employees do, on their own time. My personal life is my own business.

Smokers have designated outdoor areas, at my company and I can live with that.
post #10 of 17
The erotion of our civil liberties continue. What happened to the Constitution? How is this company getting away with this?

What if they told you you couldn't have another child and work for them because a baby in the house would make you overtired and that would affect your work productivitiy? What if they told you that you could never drink alcoholic drinks again because it's bad for your health and would also affect your work? Where does it stop?
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNCatFancier
The erotion of our civil liberties continue. What happened to the Constitution? How is this company getting away with this?
Because the company isn't "discriminating" on the basis of sex, race, creed, etc. that is forbidden by law already, they can do it. Apparently in the state where the company is located, there is no protection for smokers - they can be discriminated against at will. However, Illinois is one of about 2 dozen states that have "smoker protection" laws, so this same company cannot force the testing and threat of employment on one of their employees who works in that state.

The Constitution says what the Government cannot do to individuals, but since this is a private employer the same criteria doesn't necessarily apply.

So while it SUCKS, it is apparently legal. We shall see if any lawsuits come from the 4 employees who quit.

Quote:
What if they told you you couldn't have another child and work for them because a baby in the house would make you overtired and that would affect your work productivitiy? What if they told you that you could never drink alcoholic drinks again because it's bad for your health and would also affect your work? Where does it stop?
Exactly, and that is also exactly what the spokeman for the ACLU said on CNN today.
post #12 of 17
I'm a social smoker on and off but even if I wasn't I would feel very nervous about working there, especially after the fat thing. I would probably seek other employment.
post #13 of 17
I heard more details about this company and the smoking policy this morning on the radio.

3 years ago, he started refusing to hire any smokers. Then he said no smoking on the premisis. Last year, if anyone smoked outside of work, he charged them a $50/month fine. (I wouldn't have quit then! I wonder how many did quit at that point, or earlier.) This is the latest move, the breathalizer and threat of being terminated.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Another concern - if he's forcing his employees to take urine tests, how can employees be assured that he isn't using the results to discriminate and invade privacy in other ways? Evidence of some diseases and medication use can show up in urine, as well as evidence of early pregnancy.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
I can see where it could cost a company more to employ smokers and fat people than skinny health nuts.
OK....I'm overweight. I admit it. The woman in the next cubie is one of those skinny health nuts. She doesn't eat red meat. She snacks on vegies. She runs during her lunch time. I snack on chocolate, pretzals and cookies. During lunch, I eat lunch.

She has had 2 surgeries (appendix and gall bladder) and seen her doctor at least 15 times in 2004 and carrys a pharmacy of prescribed pills. I still have all my parts, I saw my doctor 3 times in 2004 and I take 2 pills a day...a vitamin and a pill for my genetic high blood pressure.

Which do you think it costing more in health care??
post #16 of 17
This is just plain ridiculous. I would have quit at the outset, and I don't even smoke. I don't think employees should be discriminated on their habits or looks or anything. Though it happens here too. In fact, my company recently lost our front receptionist becuase she has cancer. They called a temp agency who sent in a woman. She was nice, professional, and picked up on things quickly, but they terminated her because she was overweight. When they called the company to get a new temp, they specifically asked for a Thin, goodlooking, professional woman who would be flirtatious with the pilots. I couldn't believe they could be so rude!
post #17 of 17
This company was part of a spot on Good Morning America this morning. The congressman from that area is submitting a bill to make this type of thing illegal. He wants it passed that you cannot be fired for indulging in a LEGAL activity. Whats next, someone has a beer at the Superbowl party and gets fired for being an alcoholic? He had 5 women with him who had been fired from the company for smoking.
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