September 23, 2009

Get Healthy or Else

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:19 pm by ctennert

This is a tough topic.  I can see both the employees’ and the employer’s point of view.  It is a battle between privacy rights and the right to pick and choose your employees based upon good health for insurance reasons. 

I would recommend this company does not out and out fire anyone else due to the fact they smoke.  This could open the flood gates for many lawsuits to come.  However, I do think an employer has the right to not want to take on toxic assets such as smokers, who usually need more health care as the years go on, and tend to take frequent smoking breaks throughout the day when they should be at their desks working.  As an employer, I would not want to take on assets (employees) that could pose risk for my company,  just as in the stock market I would not want to invest in a company that is also risky.

On the other side of the coin, most people usually pay the base price for their health insurance, and if they need more assistance, they pay a premium.  Furthermore, if they are smokers and/or obese, it is not my business.  As long as they do their work and perform at a satisfactory level, we don’t have any problems.  What they do on their breaks and in their personal lives is no business of mine as an employer.

It is great how this article ended:  gaining momentum with the health initiative.  If businesses create healthy environments, more and more people will jump on that bandwagon.  Employees react a lot kinder to gentle nudging and encouragement rather than threats and firings to make examples out of people.  Some people are just not going to change for the better, but as long as they are not bothering me or my fellow co-workers, I don’t think it is anyone’s place to flat out tell them to stop. 

I will say, smoking and obesity aside, that my number one pet peeve especially during the winter months is people coming to work sick.  If you know you are sick, STAY HOME.  I am a healthy, non-smoker who never goes to the doctor for more than a regular checkup.  I eat right, work out, and live a clean lifestyle.  Last winter, two of my co-workers who are not so healthy, came in sniffing and coughing constantly (like they do every winter).  Finally, my poor body’s defenses gave in, and one morning I woke up underwater with a sore throat from hell.  I was so pissed, and felt very violated.  I actually felt bad for myself.  All my healthy eating, water drinking, working out etc. could not overcome my nasty co-workers’ bug.  What did I do… I STAYED HOME to get better, and went to the doctor for medicine, like we all should when we feel under the weather.  I am scared to see what happens with winter with all the hype about h1n1.  We shall see..

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