Employers Get Tough on Health

Kayli Tipps Employers Get Tough on Health The article entitled “Employers Get Tough on Health” is printed by the Chicago Tribune September 24, 2007 and it addresses how some companies in America are now choosing whether you get hired or keep your job based on your personal behavior and lifestyle habits such as smoking or eating high fat meals. In the reading the Article states “the rules of the work place are changing” and you should be informed of those changes so you can be a likely candidate to get hired if applying for a new job at these companies.

I will tell you how they are testing to see if you make “bad” lifestyle choices and also how it may affect whether you qualify for health insurance or your job at these companies.

The company known as Weyco Inc. in Michigan is who the article is about. This Company drew national attention in 2005 when it fired four employees who used tobacco. Weyco performs random testing every three months, usually of about 30 workers.

The workers are supposed to breath into a breathalyzer-like device that measures carbon-monoxide levels. So if the level is high then they are given a urine test and if they fail they will be dismissed. This is a scary idea to those who might smoke. Also I need to mention that you should say goodbye to the days of high-fat meals because Weyco can also regulate your blood pressure, body mass and glucose levels.

The requirements embraced by a growing number of companies are setting privacy aside and raising questions about who will qualify for health insurance and more importantly employment. Like some of the employees you may be wondering if these new rules are illegal. According to Gary Climes, vice president of Meritain Health Michigan, who owns Weyco, stated that the firings do not violate Michigan law and that the 150 employees at the company have accepted the rules. It really comes down to a personal choice as far as do you want to be employed here,” Climes said. Since 2005 when Weyco instituted the wellness policy that includes the smoking ban, health insurance costs have increased by only 2 percent which is below the national average. So you now should be worried because personal behavior and lifestyle habits, those unrelated to work, are now fair game for employers determined to cut health care costs.

The Article is very informative and gives detailed reports on the testing and how you could potentially be “dismissed” if you fail one of the tests. Also the article is expressing to you how you should rethink the junk food you have been eating or the cigarette you are about to smoke. Although thousands of employees have put in place incentives for their workers to live healthier lifestyles, the great numbers of employers have not yet embraced the act to penalize workers who don’t satisfy medical and behavioral rules.

Although you should really try to take steps to better yourself and use this article as a little push even if you don’t live in Michigan because punitive measures are gaining a foothold in the workplace. I recommend this article to anyone who is currently looking for a job to get these ideas flowing in your head because even if the company you’re working for isn’t testing you or firing people for smoking you should still be aware that they look at your habits.

The most important aspect you should have in the work place in presentation in your effort and in yourself. I found this article very informative because I had no idea that businesses even started testing people to see if they smoke or cared that you smoked at all. Although some things may be out of your immediate control such as high blood pressure and glucose levels, you can take measures to improve your health in the long run with choosing a healthier lifestyle, not only for yourself but for your job.