Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whirlpool suspends smokers, liars

I saw this on ABC NEWS at around 04:35...

CNN: INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) -- Smoking can be hazardous to your health, and it's turning into a bad career move, too.

Some Whirlpool Corp. workers may be fired after they were seen smoking on company property.

A Whirlpool Corp. factory in Evansville, Indiana, 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.

As annual health care premiums rise more than 10 percent a year, many companies are trying to rein in costs by encouraging healthy living.


Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, uses financial incentives to encourage U.S. workers and their dependents to abstain from tobacco use, spokeswoman Jill Saletta said. The specifics vary according to location.

In Evansville, the 1,500-employee factory charges tobacco users an extra $500 in annual health insurance premiums. The refrigerator factory has levied the extra premium since 1996, and it depends on employees to honestly fill out forms. It doesn't mandate blood tests to detect nicotine or trail employees outside work, Castrale said.

Management suspended the 39 employees Friday after they were spotted using either chewing tobacco on company property or taking a drag in one of the factory's dozen shelters for outdoor smoking, Castrale said.

This sounds completely fair to me! How refreshing to see honesty being acknowledged! But do not think there are those who are complaining...

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.

No, Mr. Maltby, you have it wrong. No one has given the employer complete control over anyone's private life except for the employees themselves! No one held a gun to the employees head saying 'sign this or else!'. Instead, they said sign this and we'll give you $500 off your insurance! If the employees didn't expect or want scrutiny, they could have skipped signing.

Look, if we do not hold adults to the contracts they sign, then let's do away with civil court altogether.

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