Yes, I understand the adage that when you get to accusing someone of Nazism you've lost the debate, but I couldn't think of a more fitting description. Of course I'm talking about this story:
Four employees of Okemos-based health benefits administrator Weyco Inc. have been fired for refusing to take a test that would determine whether they smoke cigarettes.
The company instituted a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it a firing offense to smoke -- even if done after business hours or at home, the Lansing State Journal reported Monday.
Their reasoning is they don't want to pay for the health care costs associated with smoking. Their CFO is oh so proud of their success:
Climes estimated that about 18 to 20 of the company's 200 employers were smokers when the policy was announced in 2003.
Of those, as many as 14 quit smoking before the policy went into place. Weyco offered them smoking cessation help, Climes said.
"That is absolutely a victory," Climes said.
This is health discrimination plain and simple. Let's play the discrimination game. You know how it goes. We replace smoking with other health care issues and see if the policy continues to sound so wise. For example:
"I don't want to pay for the results of those 5 gin and tonics my CFO has after work."
"I don't want to pay for the results of the unprotected sex Boyd in the mailroom has every weekend."
"I don't want to pay for the results of that donut habit Jenny in accounting has."
I'm sure the CFO would consider the victory just as wonderful if the company monitored his sex life, what he ate, and any consumption of alcohol, right? "Oh, and we've offered Boyd chemical castration so he can keep his job. Isn't it a wonderful victory!"
Next we can move on to genetic tendencies, because a lot of heart issues and cancers spring from genetic dispositions, right? The goal is to control health care costs after all. The next thing you know, we're living in Gattaca.
I hope the fired employees sue and take them for more than their health care costs ever could have been. We have to stop the nanny state somewhere.
Smoking Disclaimer: Smoking sucks. I know. I started when I was young and stupid. I hope you never start. I wouldn't recommend it to my enemies. However it doesn't change the fact that a company should not be able to fire their employees for legal activities done on their own time.