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banyon
04-23-2008, 05:32 PM
Whirlpool suspends 39 workers, says they lied about smoking
By TOM MURPHY
AP Business Writer

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

A Whirlpool Corp. factory in Evansville, Ind., 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.

"I can't think of a client of ours who has not shifted their focus to controlling the cost of their health care plan," said Indianapolis benefits lawyer Mike Paton.

Some employers have developed wellness programs to motivate employees, while others ask employees to state on benefits forms whether they use tobacco.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., 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.

"It's definitely not something we wanted to do," she said. "It's unpleasant."

The employees were suspended without pay, and they'll present their case at "fact-finding" meetings before management determines their fate. Whirlpool had to recall some laid-off workers to keep production running due to the suspensions.

A 2007 national survey showed that 16 percent of all large employers - those with 20,000 or more employees - adjust health care premium contributions according to the worker's smoking status, according to the human resources consulting firm Mercer.

The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act limits the changes an employer can make to a health premium because of a worker's unhealthy habits. But it doesn't set parameters on punishment if an employee lies about his or her habit, Paton said.

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.

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irishjayhawk
04-23-2008, 05:43 PM
Didn't this happen in Florida earlier?

Hydrae
04-23-2008, 05:46 PM
If I was a non-smoker I could save $10 a month on my premiums here at my workplace. But I was honest and did not try to claim those savings. :)

banyon
04-23-2008, 05:46 PM
Didn't this happen in Florida earlier?

Sort of. They just banned the hiring though.

Fla. Companies Forbidding Smoking In Private Lives

POSTED: 11:41 pm EST November 7, 2007
UPDATED: 7:29 am EST November 9, 2007


http://www.local6.com/news/14537611/detail.html

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A growing number of companies in Florida are forbidding their workers from smoking not only at work, but also in their private lives.

Westgate Resorts, the largest private employer in Central Florida, has banned smoking and won't budge from a policy of not hiring smokers and firing employees who do smoke.

"When I found out it was legal to discriminate against smokers, I put the policy in place," Westgate president and CEO David Seigel said.

Seigel told Local 6 that the policy was prompted by the death of his close friend -- a heavy smoker who died of cancer.

"If you are too stupid to understand that smoking is going to kill you, then we are going to tell you that if you want to work for our company, you will not smoke," Seigel said.

Central Floridian Ava Bryant said she was called by a recruiter for Westgate and told not to come in for an interview because Westgate won't hire smokers.

"I call it discrimination," Bryant said. "I'm not an avid smoker or a constant smoker. I just said I smoke. Sometimes I may pick up a cigarette and smoke."

But Local 6 reporter Steven Cooper reported that at Westgate, "sometimes" is one time too many.

Seigel said his policy is cost effective and said since it went into effect, health insurance claims have gone down significantly -- making insurance more affordable for employees.

The concern for privacy groups is that policies could extend beyond health issues.

"Why should non-smokers sympathize with you?" Cooper asked Bryant.

"Because, then if it's not for the smoking, it may be something else that may infringe on their rights," Bryant said. "So, how far are you going to go with it? Like, you wear pants so we are not going to hire you because you wear pants?"

"Anything we can do that is legal and not discriminatory, we will do," Seigel said. "If you are an alcoholic and we have the right to fire you, we will do so. And if you are obese and there is a way for us not to hire you or to fire you, we will do that, too."

"That sounds like discrimination," Cooper said.

"Well, I'm saying that anything that is not discriminatory," Seigel said. "If it is, we can't do very much about it."

Local 6 videotaped several Westgate employees leaving his building and smoking in a nearby strip mall.

Seigel said if those smokers are found out, they will be disciplined and assisted to quit smoking.

Seigel said when the non-smoking policy initially went into effect he gave employees a year to stop smoking and opportunities to receive counseling, patches and other smoking cessation programs.

DaneMcCloud
04-23-2008, 05:49 PM
CNN under Ted Turner would not hire smokers.

I don't know their policy now but this is nothing new.

banyon
04-23-2008, 05:53 PM
CNN under Ted Turner would not hire smokers.

I don't know their policy now but this is nothing new.

This sounds new to me:

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.

1. They're actively spying on their employees to catch them in the act.

2. They're firing them based on the spying.

3. They have constructed outdoor smoking shelters, but if you use them you're fired? That's kind of a raw deal.

Silock
04-23-2008, 05:53 PM
Sounds good to me.

Hydrae
04-23-2008, 05:54 PM
This sounds new to me:



1. They're actively spying on their employees to catch them in the act.

2. They're firing them based on the spying.

3. They have constructed outdoor smoking shelters, but if you use them you're fired? That's kind of a raw deal.

3. No, if you claim to be a non-smoker to save on your healthcare premiums and are then caught smoking you will be disciplined (fired as the case may be). This would not be any different than lying on your job application in the first place.

kstater
04-23-2008, 05:57 PM
This sounds new to me:



1. They're actively spying on their employees to catch them in the act.

2. They're firing them based on the spying.

3. They have constructed outdoor smoking shelters, but if you use them you're fired? That's kind of a raw deal.


The whole fraud thing doesn't jump out at you?

Frazod
04-23-2008, 06:07 PM
Allow me to summarize what's going to happen on this thread.

Smoking sucks.
Smoking bans suck.
Nazis suck.
We're not nazis. You suck.
Think of the children.
The children suck.
You're trampling my rights (both sides).
Are not (both sides).
Dane sucks.
Logical sucks.
Iowanian sucks.
Frazod sucks.
Kalifornia sucks.
Kalifornia DOES NOT suck! You suck!
Oh yes it does!

Thank you for your participation in this thread, now go die/f#ck yourself/have a nice day/have a cigarette.

Any questions?

banyon
04-23-2008, 06:16 PM
Allow me to summarize what's going to happen on this thread.

Smoking sucks.
Smoking bans suck.
Nazis suck.
We're not nazis. You suck.
Think of the children.
The children suck.
You're trampling my rights (both sides).
Are not (both sides).
Dane sucks.
Logical sucks.
Iowanian sucks.
Frazod sucks.
Kalifornia sucks.
Kalifornia DOES NOT suck! You suck!
Oh yes it does!

Thank you for your participation in this thread, now go die/f#ck yourself/have a nice day/have a cigarette.

Any questions?

ROFL

Reerun_KC
04-23-2008, 06:17 PM
Allow me to summarize what's going to happen on this thread.

Smoking sucks.
Smoking bans suck.
Nazis suck.
We're not nazis. You suck.
Think of the children.
The children suck.
You're trampling my rights (both sides).
Are not (both sides).
Dane sucks.
Logical sucks.
Iowanian sucks.
Frazod sucks.
Kalifornia sucks.
Kalifornia DOES NOT suck! You suck!
Oh yes it does!

Thank you for your participation in this thread, now go die/f#ck yourself/have a nice day/have a cigarette.

Any questions?
http://www.angermgmt.com/

Adept Havelock
04-23-2008, 06:20 PM
Allow me to summarize what's going to happen on this thread.

Smoking sucks.
Smoking bans suck.
Nazis suck.
We're not nazis. You suck.
Think of the children.
The children suck.
You're trampling my rights (both sides).
Are not (both sides).
Dane sucks.
Logical sucks.
Iowanian sucks.
Frazod sucks.
Kalifornia sucks.
Kalifornia DOES NOT suck! You suck!
Oh yes it does!

Thank you for your participation in this thread, now go die/f#ck yourself/have a nice day/have a cigarette.

Any questions?

:clap: A perfect prediction/summation.

dtebbe
04-23-2008, 07:48 PM
CNN under Ted Turner would not hire smokers.

I don't know their policy now but this is nothing new.

That was the "policy" but it was not enforced. You had to sign a paper when you were hired that said you did not smoke, and if was discovered that you did smoke that you "would be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination". Funny thing is that smokers could be found at every exit puffing away with their badges on. Once Time Warner bought Turner, that policy went away.

For anyone who knows the biz, finding a non smoker in a radio or tv station is about as hard as finding a virgin at a whorehouse.... Especially if you are looking for veteran talet, be it on-air, writers, production, sales, you name it.

DT

BCD
04-23-2008, 08:16 PM
Allow me to summarize what's going to happen on this thread.

Smoking sucks.
Smoking bans suck.
Nazis suck.
We're not nazis. You suck.
Think of the children.
The children suck.
You're trampling my rights (both sides).
Are not (both sides).
Dane sucks.
Logical sucks.
Iowanian sucks.
Frazod sucks.
Kalifornia sucks.
Kalifornia DOES NOT suck! You suck!
Oh yes it does!

Thank you for your participation in this thread, now go die/f#ck yourself/have a nice day/have a cigarette.

Any questions?Are you off your meds? :D

Frazod
04-23-2008, 08:20 PM
Are you off your meds? :D

Always. :evil:

I just have no intention of getting sucked into another 1,000 post pissing contest over something I don't even do anymore.