Fired for smoking

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by pdham, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. pdham macrumors member

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    #1
    I don't have a link, so I will quote this snippet from my local paper word for word.

    "In January, Weyco, an employment-benefits company in Michigan, will begin testing employees for nicotine use and firing those who test positive, and refuse to quit somoking. The company's stated motive is to control health care costs that might be driven up by smokers." - Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 31

    Well, what do you think? Does the company have the right to dictate what legal substances their employees use? Is this an indication of the outrageous state of health care costs or just a company trying to save a buck?

    At any rate, I wonder when the first lawsuit will be filed.

    Paul
     
  2. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #2
    depends...if the employee for example is an alcoholic and comes to work completly wasted too often i've no problem firing him but this ? how about firing people who drink coffee ?

    i would say it's a lame excuse for firing people
     
  3. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #3
    I'm sure they're going to come at this from several points:

    -you're an employee and are employed voluntarily. If you don't want to give up your privacy, work somewhere else.

    -nicotine use causes absenteeism. Not being at work affects your job performance negatively. Illegal drug use in the workplace also negatively affects your job performance. Therefore, drug use = nicotine use.

    Another note: your state can demand a blood or urine sample from you at any time, for any reason or no reason. You can refuse, but in retaliation they can take your driver's license, even if you've never been pulled over in your life for DUI.

    Personally, I don't like it at all. I'm of the opinion that unless your employer has very good reasons to suspect your abilities are impaired by drugs and alcohol while on the job, it should be illegal to test.

    I'm scared of two things in cases like these.

    1) the further erosion of privacy by forcing the air of voluntary participation into the debate. You don't need to take that job and you don't need to drive a car; both are conditional privileges. Which is a chicken**** way of wiping out someone's rights.

    2) the extent to which we've become desperate to save money on healthcare by denying sick people coverage. It's antithetical to the notion of healthcare, but it seems to be gaining speed. Potential insurers and employers can purchase your medical "credit report" from a private company and make decisions affecting your insurance and employment status based on that report. I'm at risk for this discrimination despite not being a drinker, smoker or drug abuser and being in very good physical condition (I exercise and eat well). Why? because I have a chronic and potentially deadly disease (which is very well controlled with two perscription drugs).
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    What if they start testing for prescription drugs? I mean, we all know that being on anti-depressants, painkillers and countless other treatments can impair your performance.

    However, if the company is responsible for the healthcare costs of the workforce, there is certainly an argument that those who drive up the cost of their insurance by voluntarily engaging in dangerous habits should be made to pay a surcharge. There is no reason why non-smokers should have to subsidize smokers.
     
  5. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #5
    I enjoy an infrequent cigar. Studies have shown no ill health effects from behaviour like mine. I would be fired or denied coverage if, after one of the few times of the year when I have a cigar, I tested positive.
     
  6. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #6
    Upon reading this line again, I have to disagree. There is no reason to subsidize smokers except that we're all humans and we need to have compassion for one another. That includes forgiveness of others' faults.

    It sounds unreasonable, but "sorry, Joe, you've been a great worker but you've smoked your way to lung cancer, so we're going to let you go and cancel your insurance; you'll have to find your own way to pay for that chemotherapy" sounds inhuman.

    When will we tackle overeating and poor diet choices? Is there a urine test for that?
     
  7. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #8
    Yep, the only way I'd support such a measure is if it treated all potential health issues the same way. Obesity is soaring and there's no doubt that if it continues unabated, it will supercede smoking as the #1 cause of death in the USA. Besides, smoking doesn't kill everyone early, just most everyone.
     
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #9
    heavily
     
  10. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #10
    hm in austria it's 57% (plus 20% VAT of course)
     
  11. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #11
    I have mixed feelings on this, but I'm leaning much more towards pseudobrit's side on this one. The question of forgiving each others' faults is certainly a big part of it. As another person who suffers from a chronic-but-potentially-fatal disease, it seems to me that it's an awfully short leap from "There is no reason why non-smokers should have to subsidize smokers" to, "There is no reason why people without Crohn's disease should have to subsidize people with Crohn's disease."
     
  12. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #12
    Sounds like the beginnings of social darwinism to me. If you smoke, (soon maybe have high colesterol, or a high risk of cancer), companies can't be forced to give you a job. Whether they can actually fire you will have to be decided, but if this way of doing things is adopted, soon it'll be only the healthiest, "perfect specimen" humans who will get employment. Welcome to Gattaca.
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    i hate smoking. i'd be perfectly happy if tobacco were banned.

    that said, i disagree w/ this company's plan. imo, it's a privacy issue. i fully support the company's right to take action against employees who violate policy, but do not support the company's perceived right to take pre-emptive action against employees who might.
     
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #14
    I didn't say I agreed with the argument, I just said there was one to be had. :rolleyes:

    Without a National Healthcare plan, surely an actuarial approach to health insurance on an individual basis is the only truly logical way to go?
     
  15. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

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    #15
    That's what happens when you work for a mini dictator. Would you want to work for someone who treats you like a thieving drug addict, regardless of whether or not you use tobacco? Do you want to work for someone who tells you what you can and can't do at home, regardless of how well you perform your job? I can understand smokers paying more for health insurance, but to get fired is bull****. Why don't they target fat people? Users of alcohol? Owners of fast cars? No matter how you slice it, this is hypocrisy. But the sheeple don't care since tobacco is an easy target. "It's OK as long as it doesn't affect me!" :rolleyes:

    Unfortunately, this type of do-gooder fascism will probably get worse in the future. Remember, they know what's good for you!
     
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #16
    Be glad that you don't work in Floriduh. If the boss is having a bad day, he can fire you, no explanation necessary.

    I can't see firing someone for smoking, unless it interferes with work.

    I've known people who spent more time getting to the smoking area, taking a smoke break, and returning from the smoking area than working.

    I think that smokers and others who voluntarily risk their own health should pay more for their healthcare than other works, though. Is it unfair? No, because no one is being forced to smoke or drink. Over-eating is sometimes a condition and not just a desire to gorge, so as long as the person is actively getting help and working to control it, they shouldn't be penalised.
     
  17. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #17
    i lean slightly against weyco's strict policy, but i could understand it, if true that having non smokers is cheaper for the employer's health and insurance costs

    many weeks later i see a watchdog organization interviewed on cnn who found no monetary correlation and that weyco had no basis, especially now since he wants to check up on the spouses of the employees of weyco and see if they smoke...now that is totally off the mark
     
  18. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #18
    This is completely stupid. Why not fire gays because they might get AIDS? This country continues to piss me off more and more. :mad:
     
  19. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #19
    Well, this is an unexpected revival. Are we celebrating the anniversary of this thread a little early? ;)
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #20
    maybe it was brought back to life because the long-proposed smoking ban was approved by the chicago city council this week.

    or who knows? maybe it was influenced by the plane that skidded off the chicago midway runway this evening.
     
  21. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #21
    Yeah, the smoking ban really gets me. Our society becomes more and more puritanical. If a business doesn't want to allow smoking, let them decide. I don't get it, if so many people don't like it, why don't they vote with their wallets? I can tell you, this will be bad for business in Chicago. I have a big three bedroom apartment, and I plan on having lots of parties for my friends who smoke. It's cheaper than going out anyway. Why pay for overpriced booze?
     
  22. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #22
    i abhor smoking and LOVE LOVE LOVE the ban. when i'm in new york, i really enjoy bars again. i fully support the ban, though i'd like to have seen something else tried first, like tax incentives for smokefree businesses.
     
  23. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #23
    Yes- tax incentives would have been much better. Making laws to make legal activities illegal disturbs me. I've been hearing lately that auto exhaust is quickly becoming a nasty cause of lung cancer. Should we make cars illegal? Or is it just things you personally find distasteful? This goes back to our earlier debate about Daley. The ends do not justify the means.

    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/nws/c...llution_linked_to_deaths_from_lung_cancer.asp

    Also, I went to see the Bodyworlds exhibit this summer. We thought that all the bodies with grey lungs were smokers. We talked to some people at the exhibit about it. They said that they were either smokers or people who lived in big cities with lots of cars. All the lungs looked the same.
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    Holy resurrected thread Batman! Since I quit smoking cigs about five years ago, I don't mind the ban here in CA much. I sure don't miss the dose of smoke with a tasty meal, that's for sure.

    As for subsidizing others smoking -- it's part of the social bargain as far as I'm concerned. Same with 'subsidizing' the hungry, the mentally ill, and the homeless -- not to mention the free-climbers, street lugers, acrobats, and others who enjoy some risky behavior from time to time.

    It's cheaper in the long run to take care of people than to incarcerate them or put them on the government dole. Of course, politicians aren't known for taking the long view of anything...
     
  25. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #25
    One of my bosses considered not hiring someone just because of the possibility that she might at some time become pregnant.
     

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