Your Job, Good Health Mandatory...


With healthcare costs soaring, many businesses have instituted mandatory health guidelines—like refusing to hire smokers—which have kicked off a fiery debate, are employee health guidelines good or just an invasion of privacy. CNN reports:
"Health and wellness programs at work are a win/win situation for everybody," says Richard Taylor, vice president of human resources at Intel. "We keep our insurance costs down, and the employees are offered free health and wellness opportunities."

Alfred Sanchez, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Miami, agrees. He started a free health and fitness program in March for his staff and their families that include weigh-ins, meetings with health counselors, nutritional guidance and exercise plans. Out of a staff of 170, all but 40 employees signed up…

…Some people, however, bristle at what they perceive as having lifestyle choices dictated by an employer.

This May, for example, the University of Massachusetts Medical School banned all tobacco use from their campus and hospital, including parking lots. If an employee is caught smoking, they risk being fired.

"They won't even allow people to smoke in their cars," says James LeBlanc, 45, an employee at the university and himself an ex-smoker who kicked the habit prior to the ban. "We all know smoking is bad for you, but last time I checked it was still legal in this country."

Some companies forbid their employees to light up at all -- even at home. There are at least 20 states that allow for this type of work policy, including Ohio, where the state's second-largest employer, the Cleveland Clinic, stopped hiring smokers in September.
This is tough. Everyone wants a healthier workforce, but this is America. If you want to ruin your health, you can. It’s your right. But then again, don’t companies also have the right to hire or not hire whoever they want—barring any civil rights infractions that is.
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maddie zerbe - March 27, 2009 1:00 PM

I think that if u refuse to hire a smoker, than it is just like refusing to hire a woman or someone with darker skin or lighter skin. I think that if you should not hire someone for a health reason, than lets all stop hiring people who are over weight. No, we cant do that the government would jump all over it, but why aren't they jumping all over this? Being over weight is just as bad health choice as smoking. How bought in the state of Ohio in stead of no smoking in restaurants lets stop serving overweight people food.

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