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No Smoking Allowed
buzzed, B&W
Saw this story about a company that fired four employees for refusing to take a test to see if they smoked cigarettes. Apparently the company, Weyco "is a service company specializing in Employee Benefit Plans and Benefit Management. " (This includes health benefits.) Anyway, the smoking is part of the Lifestyle Challenge Program that started in 2003, at which point they said that the company would be smoke free by 2005. Note that this smoking ban means employees will not smoke at all, even in their personal time. The company seems pretty progressive regarding health, providing employees "with a $35 monthly incentive to use a fitness facility, another $65 for meeting modest fitness goals. We created and use walking trails on our campus. "

So, is this a violation of privacy or some fundamental right? I'm leaning towards no - I don't see smoking as a fundamental right, and if a company doesn't want to pay the higher health insurance for employees that smoke, then they have the right to do so. And no one requires you to work for said company - they gave their employees more than a year to either quit smoking or find a new job, which I think is more than fair. Of course, it is a slippery slope . . . will they ban alcohol next? I still think that's okay - again, they can choose who they employ, and people can choose whether they use tobacco products or alcohol, which is why I don't see this as discrimination. Might be interesting to see if any other companies implement such policies . . .

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As far as banning alcohol... you can argue that alcohol has health benefits when taken in moderation. Also, what about the Catholics who drink wine on Sundays?

I've never seen a study showing cigarettes are beneficial to your health and know of no religions that require smoking :)

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