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Smoke

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Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


0 posted 01-27-2005 09:17 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“Four workers in the United States have lost their jobs after refusing to take a test to see if they were smokers.

They were employees of Michigan-based healthcare firm Weyco, which introduced a policy banning its staff from smoking - even away from the workplace.

The firm says the ban is to keep health costs down…”


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4213441.stm

Is weight next?


Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


1 posted 01-27-2005 10:30 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

this one's easy in my mind - as long as smoking is legal and formally recognized as creating no impairments in physical or mental abilities to do a job, the workplace has absolutely no right to refuse a job or fire someone for smoking. they do have the right to insist it not be done on their property or time, but not as a lifestyle.

on the flip side, if it does become illegal... guess what? it's still none of their damned business what you do in your personal life.

next on the big-brother-wanna-control-your-life-list:

weight
drinking
sexual preference
sexual gender
religious preference
free will

in succession.

i hope and feel it won't come to that, myself. personally, i see this as a big fat shark-attack lawsuit ready to bloody the waters of freedom of choice and discrimination.

egowhores.com - really love yourself.

[This message has been edited by Christopher (01-28-2005 02:33 PM).]

Alicat
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since 05-23-99
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2 posted 01-27-2005 11:08 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I gotta wonder if the ACLU will take up this one, since it is infringements on privacy as well as discrimination.  I kinda have my doubts, due to their involvement in litigation against tobacco companies.  I do, however, feel it sets a strong precedent if not challenged and struck down.  California, for instance, has for years curtailed the rights of smokers, even going so far as to propose a law making it illegal to smoke on public highways in your own car.  Luckily, that was shot down.

I agree with the sequence.  I mean, how many die of tobacco related illnesses compared to obesity/food intake illnesses?  If this company went against the obese, or those who had poor eating habits, there would be a definate hue and cry, irrespective of the high rate of morbidity.
jbouder
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


3 posted 01-28-2005 08:25 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

It's a private company.  It's employees have the choice to abide by its policies or go to work elsewhere.  One can never be sure what the outcome of wrongful termination lawsuits will be, but, to date, smokers are not a protected class.

Jim
LeeJ
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4 posted 01-28-2005 09:51 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

I believe these people ought to turn around and sue the pants off this company...I'm not sue happy, but with all the political correct issues and now this smoking thing...well to be honest, lets turn the tables on them.....

I'm afriad, if people don't start fighting for their rights...simply put...Christopher's comment is absolutely on target....

Private company or not...for or against smoking...it's a person's choice...smoking in your car, at home, or going outside for a break...I mean, come on people, talk about control freaks...sorry, but that's the way I feel...

Again...why this, why not attack all the chemical accidents which spew their venum into the air???

I don't understand where this unheard of mental concept is coming from...it's absolutely ludicrous


jbouder
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


5 posted 01-28-2005 11:13 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Should a health club be allowed to terminate a personal trainer who becomes obese?  Should Hollywood be permitted to reject a potential actor or actress for a part based on looks alone?  Should Victoria's Secret be allowed to overlook a model who just isn't looking as good in angel wings as she once did?

If the company can demonstrate that cigarette smoking is making a significant impact on worker healthcare costs and productivity, then it seems to be well within their rights, as a private company (which, incidentally, is in the business of making money), to do what they are doing.  I think a reasonable compromise might be to offer to pay or subsidize the costs of helping nicotine-addicted workers to quit, but that's their business decision to make.

Jim

LeeJ
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6 posted 01-28-2005 12:31 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

in most companies...health care costs are paid for by the employee...smoking does not alter productivity...if the employee is given breaks and a lunch, it is that employee's choice if they want to go outside and smoke...what about all the overtime a person might work and not get paid for...its elective by the employee as well.

To be honest...lets look at major company frivilous expenditures...exuberant salaries, write off lunches, bonuses and perks and look at a more reasonible way to cut costs?

This is taking away from the freedom of rights of the individual.  I'm a smoker...
don't smoke in my house, or anyone else's house...nor will I smoke in a resturant or around people who don't smoke.  Well aware of how it does offend some people and cause them discomfort...but this????  This goes way beyond the norm and is once again, another effort to control.  

And yes, if the model is not appropriate for the shot, part, movie, clothes, then yes, they most certainly have the right not to choose that person.  

Smoking does not in any way, effect my productivity at work...nor should it...and if it does, then that I should be repromanded....and warned and yes, even fired if I would go beyond my breaks during the day, but I don't.  And I can't tell you how many employees come back very late from lunch everyday...then, lets say we take an alcohole test and fire anyone who has a drink or two or three for lunch and returns to work.  Same concept and much more disruptive.  Why, cuz those people always take longer lunches.  

To me, this is simply a closed mind, who doesn't smoke and walks around stating he/she hates smokers....what a comment...what a concept?  There are many more important issues within corporate America which needs to be addressed.  Let the smokers alone, and if they're offending you by smoking next to you, then you have every right to express that.  I truly do believe smoke does make people who don't smoke uncomfortable and would not hesitate to put out my cigerette to oblige.  

This is a disgrace...to me, to you, and to everyone in the free world...and should not be taken lightly...What was that song by Journey....Light up...Everybody...

Suppose I do sound very serious about this, and I am...but in the same, it's nice to hear all of your comments as well...so, in that I hope I've not offended anyone...

  
Christopher
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7 posted 01-28-2005 01:42 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Then the next thing is weight, Jim - because that's a proven health care burden - far more than smoking from the reports I've heard, far more than cancer, accidents, etc.

Sexual promiscuity must be banned as well, because of the health care burdens of STD's.

Walking outside without a re-breather must also be banned, because of the health care concerns revolving around a polluted atmosphere (the irony that said companies are the largest contributors shouldn't go unnoticed).

Next, well, they'll definitely have to stop working people overtime, becaues of the health care concerns for exhaustion.

Oh, and also stop making people work hard at their jobs, because it's stressful and can require care for physcological help.

Actually, should probably require the cessation of all sex, period, because it costs a lot of money to have and raise a child from the health care perspective.

Too, to add to the list, should eliminate any machinery, vehicles, etc. as they are frequent causes of accidents which result not only in increased health care costs, but also in litigation. (Again, note the irony that if they spent a little more money up-front on realistic safety programs and training, this could be drastically reduced).

Seems to me, if they'd just stop making people work for their money, they wouldn't have any concerns over the rising cost of health care...
Christopher
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8 posted 01-28-2005 02:27 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

An additional thought, Jim - should that same company also be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on gender, race, religious preference, etc?

Equal Opportunity Employer?

Or is the opportunity part only for the employer?

Should an employer be able to refuse someone a job if they're taking pain medication? Anti-depressants? If they drink beer at night? Should they be able to refuse someone a job if they're a Republican? A Democrat? A Wiccan? Should an employer be able to refuse someone a job if they like to climb mountains on the weekend? Race cars? Bungee jump?

If it starts with one, it's an almost inevitable landslide through the rest. As long as smoking is legal, they're impinging on private, personal rights allowed to us though legislation and history.

egowhores.com - really love yourself.

LeeJ
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since 06-19-2003
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9 posted 01-28-2005 03:01 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

and...what about deer....and the accidents they cause....now, how can we limit there freedom?  All kidding aside, accidents caused by deer every year are far more expensive then smokers...besides, every year, there are more and more smokers quiting...

LeeJ
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Posts 13093
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10 posted 01-28-2005 03:02 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

gwad, just had an awful thought, Picture a deer standing by the road, with his front legs leaning against a tree, smoking a cigerette while waiting for a car...hehehehe  wearing a sign says..." SO FIRE ME!"

sorry, silly mood today
Titia Geertman
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since 05-07-2001
Posts 5297
Netherlands


11 posted 01-28-2005 03:21 PM       View Profile for Titia Geertman   Email Titia Geertman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Titia Geertman's Home Page   View IP for Titia Geertman

The Americans keep amazing me quite a lot lately. But isn't this going way too far???
Are companies thinking one day to forbid you to do sports in your free time, because you may break a leg or something??

Where did they hid the law to the right on privacy in your country. Are they going to get away with this???

Titia

Like scattered leaves...my words will flow

Alicat
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since 05-23-99
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Coastal Texas


12 posted 01-28-2005 03:38 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I really hope not, and from my understanding, the ACLU is actually working to defend civil rights, specifically regarding discrimination and privacy.  Wrongful termination and harassment are other matters, but those are state, not federal.
Not A Poet
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since 11-03-1999
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13 posted 01-28-2005 04:33 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

How far can we actually get from the subject?
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


14 posted 01-28-2005 05:33 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


I can’t see how weight can’t be among the next issues,
except business and  judges bowing to the two thirds
estimated to be overweight who would find such a move
unpopular.

Christopher
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since 08-02-99
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Purgatorial Incarceration


15 posted 01-28-2005 06:03 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

I don't really think it's all that far Pete.

You used examples that you felt were in line with this case. I don't feel your examples are all that applicable either.

A fitness instructor's ability to perform their job would be definitively limited by obesity, therefore it's not a concern of health care costs, but rather of work performance.

An actor needs to appear a certain way in order to do their job. Not looking the way the directors needs them to would also limit their work performance.

A model is much like the actor - it's a matter of work performance, not health care costs.

In other words, all your examples show why a person could not be hired because of their inability to perform a specific task.

Firing someone for smoking because of the potential financial losses due to increased health care is exactly like doing the same because of obesity and the potential future costs of health care due to heart attacks, strokes, etc. - having sex due to the costs of having and raising children and/or STD's - bungee jumping due to the potential costs of repairing a broken leg or lifelong care for spinal injury.

Smoking gets a bad rap and is most definitely not a popular cause. Living here in California, I've seen them disallow smoking in restaurants, public buildings, BARS (still think that one's plain out-and-out dumb, but hey), even in within fifteen feet of an ATM unless you're moving about (Roseville, CA). They've tried more and lost most. Doesn't mean they won't win some more...

I don't think the topic's strayed all that far after all. Once you let something go that hinges on something larger, everything else that's connected becomes easier to pluck away.
Not A Poet
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16 posted 01-28-2005 06:28 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Actually Chris, I did not give any examples. That question above was my first comment in this thread. I submit the following as justification.
quote:
...fire anyone who has a drink or two or three for lunch and returns to work.

Fairly common actually and quite justifiable.
quote:
Then the next thing is weight, Jim - because that's a proven health care burden - far more than smoking from the reports I've heard, far more than cancer, accidents, etc.

Can't really call this one too for off as there is some validity. Not sure about your statistic that overweight is far more dangerous than smoking though
quote:
Walking outside without a re-breather must also be banned, because of the health care concerns revolving around a polluted atmosphere (the irony that said companies are the largest contributors shouldn't go unnoticed).

Next, well, they'll definitely have to stop working people overtime, becaues of the health care concerns for exhaustion.

Oh, and also stop making people work hard at their jobs, because it's stressful and can require care for physcological help.

Actually, should probably require the cessation of all sex, period, because it costs a lot of money to have and raise a child from the health care perspective.

Too, to add to the list, should eliminate any machinery, vehicles, etc. as they are frequent causes of accidents which result not only in increased health care costs, but also in litigation. (Again, note the irony that if they spent a little more money up-front on realistic safety programs and training, this could be drastically reduced).

Huh?
quote:
An additional thought, Jim - should that same company also be allowed to refuse employment to someone based on gender, race, religious preference, etc?

Illegal.
quote:
Should an employer be able to refuse someone a job if they're taking pain medication? Anti-depressants? If they drink beer at night? Should they be able to refuse someone a job if they're a Republican? A Democrat? A Wiccan? Should an employer be able to refuse someone a job if they like to climb mountains on the weekend? Race cars? Bungee jump?

Off the wall!
quote:
... accidents caused by deer every year are far more expensive then smokers

Relevant or ridiculous?

As a former employer as well as employee, I am well aware of the costs of health insurance. And although some companies make the employees pay for it, all certainly do not. In the incident cited, we don't know which was the case. Since the cost to the company was given as the reason, I think it fairly safe to assume the company was paying. Small companies that try to provide that costly benefit to their employees are to be commended. Their costs per employee far exceed those of larger companies. Anything, within reason, that they can do to reduce the costs so as to continue providing the benefit seems perfectly reasonable to me. The alternative is to no longer provide insurance. Many, if not most, individuals cannot even purchase health insurance and, if they can, the cost can be entirely prohibitive. I like the idea of having that benefit. And, like Jim said, if you would rather smoke than have that perfect job at that particular company then look elsewhere. Where is the impinging on your rights there?

Balladeer
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17 posted 01-28-2005 06:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

So basically they are saying "Where there's smoke, there's firings??"
Brad
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Jejudo, South Korea


18 posted 01-28-2005 10:37 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim and Pete make perfect sense.

But the question can be phrased differently.

How much power should an employer have over employees when they aren't working?

Is it a rights issue?

Is it a profits issue?

Which comes first?
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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19 posted 01-29-2005 12:15 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



Who is paying who...
Ron
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20 posted 01-29-2005 02:03 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

It's a slightly sticky point, because the law says an employer can't fire (or refuse to hire) for the wrong reasons. At the same time, however, an employer isn't required to have a reason. They can fire (or hire) indiscriminately, as long as it really IS indiscriminately (as in, lacking in discrimination). If I decide to only hire people who come to the interview in sneakers, there's not a thing you can do about it.

Is it fair?

How you would like to be forced to marry someone with whom you don't feel comfortable? Don't like sleeping with someone who smokes or drinks? Tough. Their weight or appearance matters to you? How shallow. Want someone you actually like? Get real. You're proposing (sorry for the pun) a world where anyone who applies for the job of husband or wife has to be hired, a world where their rights supercede your own.

That's not a world in which I want to live.

serenity blaze
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21 posted 01-29-2005 04:11 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Is weight next???

That can hardly be hidden.

I used to work in marketing, and it was a meager job of recording reactions of the "average joe" to visuals, and I promise you, overweight people nearly garnered the most negative reaction from the public, as 'bad' teeth slightly edged that out.

I understand the point, but it sorta scalded me that me anyone thought that weight has never played an issue in employment opportunity.

Now...I defy anyone to look at pictures and point out the bulimic. And good teeth? Well, veneers cost money, huh?

sigh

I was once held back from choking an insurance salesman who denied my husband coverage--

amongst the questions asked:

"Do you skydive, bungee-jump, or drive a motorcycle?"

I answered for my husband:

"No. But we shop at Wal-mart."

(There was a high profile murder of a woman murdered there at the time.)

The salesman laughed.

But he also packed his briefcase, as I ranted on:

"We also like fried chicken, we drink too much coca-cola, and at times, when we get mad we hold our breath until we're blue."

Life ain't fair.

And death is less fair than life.

*  *  *

And when I'm asked these days if I smoke, I answer,

"Hell yeah. But I don't lie."

Christopher
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22 posted 01-29-2005 11:48 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

I don't have time to get into more of this right now, but want to apologize Pete... for some reason when I got to the reply window I mixed you and Jim up.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


23 posted 01-29-2005 12:34 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“Risky sexual behavior among Americans is putting the public’s health at risk, according to a new CDC study. . .

Researchers estimated that more than 2 million years of life were cut short due to premature death and loss of healthy life because of a disability attributable to sexual behavior. That’s 6 percent of the national total of DALYs.

Nearly two-thirds of the health problems caused by sexual behavior were borne by women, who were also most affected by sexual behavior-related disability.

Men accounted for 66 percent of overall deaths attributed to sexual behavior. But researchers say if HIV/AIDS deaths are taken out of that figure then 80 percent of the deaths would be among women, largely due to cervical cancer deaths.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,145530,00.html


Now, being concerned with health costs, a San Francisco company decides . . .

Denise
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24 posted 01-29-2005 02:04 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

First of all, let me say that I am a smoker. I don't like that I am, but I am. I don't like the disapproving looks, I don't like being told by perfect strangers on the street that "that's going to kill you, you know." Even a three-year-old scowled at me once and said that, to the amusement of his onlooking father. (Who are these people? )

I am considerate of others and I don't smoke indoors around people that it bothers. I just wish some non-smokers had that same consideration towards me.

I've tried to quit, but I've never been able to. I've prayed about it. I've anguished over it. I've done the gum and the patch thing. The longest I lasted was three days. I thought I was going to lose my mind, literally.

I guess only smokers can really understand what it's like and are acutely aware of the current bias today against them.

First it was no smoking in the work place, now it's spreading to bars, restaurants, and in some places, as Christopher mentioned, in the outdoors and even in your own car. I think Princeton, NJ bans smoking everywhere, except inside your own house.

And now the newest wrinkle seems to be the threat of loss of employment. Doesn't even seem to matter what a person's work ethic and other attributes and contributions to the success of the company may be...you smoke, you're out. How sad. And if the past is any indication, it will spread to other companies like wildfire as health insurers promise lower premiums (which won't stay low for long, again, if the past is any indication) to companies who don't have to insure smokers.

Yes, I guess it is the employer's right to do whatever they wish to do in that regard, as long as they aren't discriminating against a legally recognized "protected group" within society. It's really a shame though to treat employees this way, especially those in their advancing years just prior to possible retirement with losing their job, retirement benefits, etc., those who will have a much harder time finding another job due to their age.

Perhaps it would have been more decent, more compassionate, for the employer to have given the smokers a choice to chip in towards their higher health premium, whatever the difference would be between the smoker premium and the non-smoker premium? Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing for the employer? And/or they could have 'grandfathered' the current employees, and just not hired new employees who smoked, and gotten rid of the smokers by attrition through retirement.

Quitting smoking is not something that can easily be done. Some, perhaps most, will never be able to give it up. You might as well ask them to walk on water. Believe me, I know. And once you've smoked for twenty-five or thirty years, the damage is done. If you are going to get cancer or respiratory disease, you're going to get it, whether you quit or not at that point. So how will quitting then save on health care costs anyway?

I guess us smokers should seriously consider self-enmployment options if what this company did starts to become a trend.
  
 
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