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SMokers - another issue

2/8/2005 12:25 AM
SMokers - another issue
I didn't want to wade into the othre smoker thread since it is already a mile long. But here is something to chew on. Up front, I don't smoke nor allow it in my shop, but I am really against the following.  
Here in Lansing, Mich. we have a company - Weyco Inc - that is in some insurance related activity. I think they administer benefit programs or something. ANyway, Mr Weyers decided that no one could smoke in his employ. Not just at work, but ever. He even has random tests for evidence of smoking - I assume urine, as administering blood tests would be a nightmare to pull off. He gave them like a few months advance notice that as of a couple weeks ago they would either be smoke free and ready to prove it or be fired. There is no union there, and Michigan is an at-will employment state. SO you can't smoke at home. They detect smoke, you're fired. Refuse the test, you're fired. FOur people were fired so far. At least a couple for refusing the test.  
The four folks were even on the Today show this past morning with a local legislator fighting it. The one woman reports she had called in sick only five days in 14 years adn did not get health insurance through the company anyway.  
He gives all the standard rationale for it. Statistically smokers will cause his health insurance rates to be higher, smokers will be out sick more often, etc. I am willing to bet his group health rate won't go down a penny, nor its cost to his staff.  
I am completely outraged by this. AS much as I hate cigarette smoke, it is a legal activity, and it is an activity that does not impair the senses or performance, unlike legal drinking. It may cause mild withdrawal symptoms when you want one, but nothing you can't ignore for as long as it takes til your break.  
I don't need to make up counter arguments, this is a huge issue in town and the anti consensus is that it is a slippery slope violating individual rights. What's next? Obesity, too many speeding tickets, certainly drinking, plenty of things to consider. Except for the fact it is specifically forbidden, I expect this asshole would be firing the disabled since they negatively impact his bottom line too. ANyone with a severe allergy maybe. COnsider the expense if I was chewing peanuts next to someone allergic. And on and on.  
I believe the man has a right to keep his place smoke free, but to tell his people they cannot consume legal products in their own homes on their own time is outrageous.  
SOme big executives adn show biz types have in their contracts that they will not do certain high risk things like pilot their own planes, race cars, mountain climb, etc. but these are exceptional contracts for people representing large enterprises involving millions. A precedent maybe but hardly applicable here.  
Chew on that.

Steve A. Enzo:  &n... -- 2/8/2005 2:20 AM
anon yeah, but look at it this way.<... -- 2/8/2005 9:25 AM
Enzo And I expect the drinkers not to co... -- 2/8/2005 7:32 PM
Mark Hammer On a human resource management list... -- 2/9/2005 10:37 AM
Doug H I haven't read the whole thread so ... -- 2/11/2005 12:36 PM
Enzo I started this thread since I was r... -- 2/16/2005 12:06 AM
pat I'm a former smoker who quit when I... -- 2/24/2005 7:46 AM