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ATS: Michigan Company Dictates Smoking Outside of Workplace

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posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 07:34 AM
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Weyco Inc, a medical company in Michigan, has drafted a new rule banning the use of cigarettes at work and at home. All employees are required to undergo a tobacco usage test, and failing the test means losing your job. Four employees have already been fired for refusing to take the nicotine test. Weyco's CEO states that he is just trying to to create a healthy workplace, but is this simply an attempt to avoid medical expenses by banning high-risk employees?
 


law.com - Heat Rises Over 'No Smokers Hired' Policy
A Michigan company's recent decision to stop hiring smokers has angered employment lawyers who allege that the new no-smoking policy reeks of discrimination.

Several attorneys say the policy, which also requires that all employees undergo testing for tobacco use, goes too far in that it aims to regulate legal activity -- in this case smoking.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


29 states have laws against such practices, but Michigan is among the 21 states who allow companies to discriminate against workers for lifestyle choices. If the company actually has significant savings with this policy I can see it tackling other issues that are usually left alone. Will overweight workers be told to slim down or lose their job? This obviously is an issue on some jobs, but what if your medical condition doesn't affect your performance as an employee?

Can companies perform a DNA test to see if you are likely to have cancer or heart failure? This reminds me of the movie Gattaca where all employees are screened daily for imperfections or any sign that they could possibly have a health problem in the future. "Tobacco employee detected. Generating termination papers." Next please.

Related ATS Discussions:
Smoking Banned in Bhutan; 1st SmokeFree Nation
smoking Ban- To be or not to be?

[edit on 25-1-2005 by dbates]




posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 07:45 AM
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And it struck me odd how Jack Cafferty guffawed at it, but didn't mention Ted Turner had the same rule at CNN when he owned it privately.

Same rationale, same enforcement. You had to sign an honor contract for employment and they'd fire you for smoking anywhere.

Lasted for years until the Time Warner merger, when the rule was lifted.

It's ridiculous in my opinion to ban private use of a legal product like that.

(Okay, in the second segment he did mention it.)


[edit on 25-1-2005 by RANT]



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 07:53 AM
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This is pretty absurd, a company I suppose has the right to discriminate on any grounds, but the state also has the right to make laws limiting that. What the hell business is it of theirs if a person smokes or not?

None of their ceo's smoke?



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 08:15 AM
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Michigans Governor, Granholm, might not let this go too far. She has raised cigarette taxes dramatically twice since she been in office. And it has met budget expectations....


"Michigan's 50-cent-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes, which took effect this past August, is meeting budget projections, according to State Treasury spokesperson Terry Stanton. The Detroit News reports that the state took in $296.7 million from cigarette taxes from August 1 to December 1, 2002, up $97.2 million over the same period a year earlier. The state projects that over the course of a year, it will garner $291.6 million more in revenue--approximately what it had forecast.

Overall sales of cigarettes averaged 59.2 million packs a month in Michigan, down about 8.5 percent from the previous year, Stanton said. Original forecasts had predicted a 9.5 percent drop in sales, with the assumption being that the higher tax would convince some smokers to quit or smoke less."

Who is going to complain? Are us smokers going to join together and try to fight big government so we can keep a very expencive and highly frowned upon habit? Doubtfull.
They attack smokers because they can, and because it's profitable, not because it is in the best interest of the smokers. If they start to loose state profits because too many smokers are quitting, they will simply go after booze next.

In May 1994, Michigan's cigarette tax was increased by 50 cents to $0.75 per pack.
In August 2002, the tax was increased by 50 cents to $1.25 per pack.
In July 2004, the tax was increased by 75 cents to $2.00 per pack.

Michigan Smoker
-Scott




[edit on 25-1-2005 by Nemithesis]



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 08:42 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
This is pretty absurd, a company I suppose has the right to discriminate on any grounds, but the state also has the right to make laws limiting that. What the hell business is it of theirs if a person smokes or not?

None of their ceo's smoke?


Its about the insurace, who wants to pay inflated payments, because you know they are going to get cancer or something else over the time of thier life from smoking.

What if they out lawed it all together? This is a true heath risk, I am al for fighting the powers that be but this seems like a no brainer.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:25 AM
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If companies are doing this to keep health insurance premiums, I think it IS a good idea. Obese people should be targeted next.
I am tired of paying extreme monthly premiums just so otheres can indulge in their legal addictions.
If you smoke, are overweight or drink in excess, just try to get any insurance will paying extra rates!
I don't think it's discrimination at all, but rewarding folks for being proactive about healthy lifestyles.

As for Granholm's increasing cigarette taxes, she couldn't find her way out of a paper bag. She's been in office so long she can no longer blame her predecessor for the state's ills! She has even been known to contact out-of-state online cigarette companies and demand they not ship to MI.

Her cigarette tax increases are not only NOT helping MI's economy, but many have quit smoking.
She has the distinction of leading one of three states with negative job growth.

In fact, the job situation is so bad, I can see many, many people willing to not smoke just to get a job!


[edit on 25-1-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra

Originally posted by Nygdan
This is pretty absurd, a company I suppose has the right to discriminate on any grounds, but the state also has the right to make laws limiting that. What the hell business is it of theirs if a person smokes or not?

None of their ceo's smoke?


Its about the insurace,


Unacceptable. Drinking lowers health. Not being married lowers health. Lots of stuff results in lowered health. I understand that its perfectly legal, but it seems to be too much to me. The people working there should quit, for the sake of everyone, to stop that absurd practice in its tracks. Infact, they should keep smoking, get fired, collect severance, meanwhile look for a new job and the company, with no workers, changes the policy or goes under.

Of course, people tend to not stand up for themselves, especially when money is involved.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:37 AM
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Im all in favour of banning smoking in the workplace and public spaces but this is ridiculous!!

What are the civil liberty groups doing??

If it is down to health insurance, thank god I live in the UK, your American system is so flawed.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:44 AM
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I am a non-smoker & highly allergic to cigarette smoke and if I had my way, I would declare a non-smoking zone of 50 feet around me at all times, indoors and outdoors. Also, one of my best friends is 44 years old, has smoked Marlboros for 29 years and was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. I have known him since we were teenagers and I was always asking him to quit (along with his family), giving him articles and information about the consequences. He was well aware of the damage it could do, yet never seriously tried to quit. It is no doubt a stupid stupid thing to do to yourself.

However, this ruling goes to far. If people want to do stupid things to themselves in the privacy of their own homes, they should be allowed to do so.

And what is this employer going to do when he fires all the smokers and discovers that premiums are still high due to those that are obese? Is he going to fire them too? Are chronic asthma sufferers and those genetically predisposed to cancer next?

Perhaps the way to handle this issue is to change the way that healthcare premiums are calculated. Why is everyone penalized with paying higher costs in group healthcare plans (could it be that the insurance company makes out by charging everyone more??)? People who live a healthier lifestyles should pay lower premiums, and those who endulge in unhealthy behaviors should pay a higher premium commensurate with the estimated costs of their endulgences. To me, that would seem like a good reason to stop smoking or to lose weight.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:45 AM
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Might want to think about all the employees who :

1. Eat Beef (CJD dammit)
2. Drive (polluting the atmos and might have a wreck)
3. Indulge in any leisure activities that may cause injury and time off work(riding horses, bikes, skiing, water skiing, skydiving, hiking(there's baaaaars in them thar woods))
4. Imbibe any alcoholic beverages (possible alcoholics, liver damage)
5. Any gun owners (might try to pop a cap in the ass of the boss that fired them for any of the above)
6. etc......etc......etc.....



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 10:27 AM
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Here in Australia the Goverment has banned smoking between the flags on the beaches & you have to be 4m away from a public door way to light up.
It has got out of hand


[edit on 25-1-2005 by Southern Hemisphere]



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:04 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

Originally posted by SpittinCobra

Originally posted by Nygdan
This is pretty absurd, a company I suppose has the right to discriminate on any grounds, but the state also has the right to make laws limiting that. What the hell business is it of theirs if a person smokes or not?

None of their ceo's smoke?


Its about the insurace,


Unacceptable. Drinking lowers health. Not being married lowers health. Lots of stuff results in lowered health. I understand that its perfectly legal, but it seems to be too much to me. The people working there should quit, for the sake of everyone, to stop that absurd practice in its tracks. Infact, they should keep smoking, get fired, collect severance, meanwhile look for a new job and the company, with no workers, changes the policy or goes under.

Of course, people tend to not stand up for themselves, especially when money is involved.


Is that the only line you read? If you smoke for a long period of time you are going to get cancer. The number one killer in america is cancer now, alot of them come from smoking.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:13 AM
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Hi DontTreadOnMe,
I am a smoker and I have no problem paying higher premiums for healthcare because of it. Of course, I can't afford any insurance in the first place so that subject is moot. But with regard to non-smoking employess being rewarded, I have a problem. The policy is EXclusive, not INclusive. My reward for not smoking is I'm allowed to keep my job!? Some reward! That's flat-out Punishment. The last time I looked, Employers are not required to pay for their employee's health care anyway,......they are required to OFFER it to their employees to purchase. I think you could call it a reward if they acutally DID something to be rewarded for. But not precisely because of something they DIDN'T do.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by spike
I am a smoker and I have no problem paying higher premiums for healthcare because of it. Of course, I can't afford any insurance in the first place so that subject is moot.


Spike, maybe your smoking habbit is why you can't afford healthcare in the first place?

I'm just busting your chops, but think about the money that can be saved for other expenses.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:48 AM
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Whether or not anyone thinks smoking is bad for you is completely irrelevant. Be very very careful of what you say in this case.

What is going on here is a company is digging into its employees' private lives to cut costs. Do not insult my intelligence by saying the boss wants a "safer workplace." That logic would hold true and be applaudable if it was put to use to ban smoking IN the office (which I'm sure it is already). However, keep in mind that some of you are cheering on the company's right to know what you do at home.

A tobacco usage test? Well, my place of employment is permitted to give random drug tests because of the nature of my job. Of course, the difference here is that the substances they are testing for are illegal. Certain job functions would require that one not use mind altering substances that are illegal. Tobacco, while perhaps undesirable is absolutely not illegal.

So those of you in support of this idiotic plan, answer this please:

What's next? Will the CEO send out an email saying "Anyone caught driving during the next snow storm will be fired!" How about "Those who eat fatty foods will no longer be qualified for insurance."

Now if you're the type of person that wishes to be OWNED by your employer, I guess this should make you happy. Personally I enjoy the few hours of spare time that I have. I put in more hours than I care to count, and I'll be damned if my job is going to tell me what to do during those hours too.

As long as I am being a law abiding citizen, if I smoke or not is really none of your business. Maybe this company should fire certain races or ethnic groups because of medical studies showing them more susceptible to certain diseases?



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 12:46 PM
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I hate to be inthe same area with people who smoke, but I strongly disagree with allowing anyone acess to a persons private life.

There is the difference when testing is being done for drugs that may negatively impair your work performance, and the fact is that drugs are illegal. But how in the f--- can our govt allow a drug that kills 1500 people a day to continue it's rampage, while marajuana, which has never caused death from sickness, to be declared illegal.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:34 PM
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In May 1994, Michigan's cigarette tax was increased by 50 cents to $0.75 per pack.
In August 2002, the tax was increased by 50 cents to $1.25 per pack.
In July 2004, the tax was increased by 75 cents to $2.00 per pack.


Seems Ohio's governor is learning something from Michigan.. he's raising taxes another .50cents to match Michigans..]

Hell, look at New York.. its almost 8$ a pack there..

Taxing the hell out of citizen addicted to a drug they manufactured.. brilliant.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by spike
Hi DontTreadOnMe,
*SNIP*My reward for not smoking is I'm allowed to keep my job!? Some reward! *SNIP*.

Well, here in many parts of Michigan, having a job IS a reward. You couldn't wrap fish in the classifieds in the SUnday paper.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 10:24 PM
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It's easy to pick on the smokers - not that many of them and they make an easy scapegoat. But if the courts dont' find this practice discriminatory - it will only be the beginning. The overweight, women of child bearing age, people with genetic predispositions to cancer, diabetes, etc.

I could probably even "accept" an employer refusing to cover "high risk" employees or making them pay higher premiums to help offset costs. But to outright terminate an employee for engaging in legal behavior on their own time is BS.

This smokers 2cents,
B.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 02:52 AM
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I work for a semiconductor manufacturer and we have a policy of not hiring smokers. This is due to the fact that smokers are dirtier than other people. A smoker (not smoking) standing in front of a particle counter gives a higher count than a non-smoker. So we don't employ people who contribute to the particulate problem. We also ban make-up for the same reason. Now if you were to lie on your application form about smoking should you be fired, of course you should. This does not mean that this is the reason in this case but I'm pointing out that there are sound commercial reasons for not hiring smokers.




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