A Whirlpool Corp. factory in Evansville, Ind., has suspended 39 workers who signed insurance paperwork claiming they don’t use tobacco and then were seen smoking or chewing tobacco on company property. Now, some could be fired for lying, company spokeswoman Debby Castrale said.
Whenever something like this happens I wonder where it’ll all end. I actually applaud the company for their intestinal fortitude, I’d bet that the magic number for regulations on matters like this is 40 though. As in, if 40 people are let go there needs to be prior notice. Interesting, no?
Now I could go on an on about how heavy smokers make for a poor work environment (mostly due to the smell) but alot of people have bad BO or use heavy perfumes. This looks like (on it’s face) a sneaky way to dismiss employees who could well be a drain on the company health plan. That being said, I’m seriously obese and could be looked upon in the same way.
The important question here is where these people given some form of warning or is this a surprise enforcement move?
Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, which
advocates for employee privacy, sees no problem with employers trying
to curb smoking. But he worries that the trend of cracking down on
employees’ unhealthy behavior is extending beyond tobacco use.
“We shouldn’t have to give employers complete control over our
private life so they can save a few dollars on medical care,” he said.
This I agree upon, I have been compelled to sign agreements that affected my private life in the past and have declined to do so, as I could not be effective in my job at the time if I was forced to comply with the spirit and letter of these agreements. So I commiserate with the persons affected, up until they lie on their health insurance forms. In the States, you pay for health care, someone lying on those forms and hurting the premiums of their coworkers is not the way things should be.
This is one of those wedge issues where Universal Health Care removes the impetus on the company to enforce health mandates. Don’t you think?