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LAT: Employers Are Fighting Fire With Fired (Smokers)

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:17 PM
Original message
LAT: Employers Are Fighting Fire With Fired (Smokers)
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-nosmoke28j...

Employers have recently tried every carrot they can think of -- including cash incentives and iPods -- to convince employees to quit smoking. Now they are the trying the stick.

Pointing to rising health costs, and the oversized proportion of insurance claims attributed to smokers, employers around United States are refusing to hire applicants who smoke and, sometimes, firing employees who refuse to quit.

"Employers are realizing the majority of health costs are spent on a small minority of workers," says Bill Whitmer, chief executive of the Health Enhancement Research Organization, an employer and healthcare coalition in Birmingham, Ala.

Federal and state laws bar employers from not hiring or firing workers based on their race, religion or gender. Some states have enacted laws offering similar protections for smokers. But experts say workers in nearly half the states have few legal options if employers decided to prohibit them from smoking outside the workplace.

Employees in many states "work at the discretion of their employers and can be terminated for almost any reason as long as it's not illegal," says Stephen Sugarman, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Overweight will be next. As much as I hate smoking - this firing of workers needs to be stopped.

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7th_Sephiroth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. i'm a non-smoker and i dont like tobacco but
whats next, a coca-cola employee fired for buying pepsi at the super market? Fired cause your boss is a fundie and you voted kerry? or had sex with your girlfriend? or having sex that isint in the missionary position? your employer shouldent be allowed to legislate your personal home life
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WildClarySage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. I temped for coke about 15 yrs ago and lost my job the day
my boss saw my car at the drive-thru during lunch of a fast food place that was supplied by pepsi.

It ain't coming, it's already policy.
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. uuhhhhh.... I think that actually happened some years ago
May be an urban legend though... so far, anyway.
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7th_Sephiroth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. coke is actually "At War" with pepsi
its disgusting, and coke should be pulled from the market, i have friends who work at a plant and they say sometimes vats of the concentrated syrup spill, and the stuff eats through thier steel0toed boots and jeans, i have seen it happen
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Journeyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. I saw this trend coming 20 years ago. . .
it's one of the reasons I quit smoking.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. I agree, this is pure fascism.
Trying to curb perfectly legal behavior on an employee's leisure time is insane. I honestly think the courts are going to strike this stuff down.

While I do sympathise with companies finding their insurance premiums skyrocketing, I don't think smokers are the root cause. Our health care delivery system is a total disaster. That is what the problem is. Too many people are trying to suck too much profit out of a system that has never belonged in the wholly private sector.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
4. Here's the going after the obese
from the article: Last month, Alabama announced plans to raise insurance rates on public employees who smoke, and it is considering doing the same with obese workers.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-05 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I suppose it never occurred to these employers
to focus on health care reform or provide classes to employees who need to lose weight or quit smoking.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. Employers should wise up and support
single payer insurance. Every employee should pay a percentage of their wage, whatever they earn, for insurance. Republicans like the idea of a flat tax, why not have a flat insurance rate.

If it isn't smoking, it's overweight, or some genetic condition. Insurers use every excuse in the book to raise rates. Smoking is bad for you, but if you do it on your own time, that's your mistake. You shouldn't lose your job for it.
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