Fired for Smoking at Home

  1. Have you all heard about the company Weyco that fired four people for smoking away from work? The employees violated a company policy that prohibits smoking, both on and off the job. I am not a smoker, and I know that it's bad for people, but I believe that adults have the right to smoke. I can't believe that a company would fire someone for doing something away from work that is legal, and doesn't negatively affect their work performance. I'm wondering if hospitals and nursing homes, who are in the health business, will follow suit and forbid their nurses and doctors from smoking away from work. After all, Weyco claims that smokers increases healthcare costs, but so do alcoholics and treatment for obesity. What's next, banning employees from eating double cheeseburgers and drinking alcohol at home? Is this really a good idea?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Antikigirl
    There is no balance when the pendulum sticks to one side..and this is exactly what the anti-smoking hard core groups have done!

    Until smoking is illegal, it is a legalized substance that one may do...especially in the privacy of their own homes! Wow, wonder if they have a policy there about 'not bring home to work" ??? UHGGGGG!

    That is a right, not a healthy one, but a right...and people should get upset if their rights are taken. No one has the right to tell me what I can and can't do in my own home..if that is the case I would certainly consider moving out of my country that I dearly love...people fought for those rights, died for those rights...not speaking directly of smoking..but the right to have freedoms and privacy in their own abodes!

    This is a slap in the face of our own constitution, and once we start doing that...well, ______________________ fill in the blank as you see fit (mine would use profanity..LOL!).

    I agree with other aspects causing an increase in healthcare costs...one large one is people not getting primary health care, and relying on ER's! Hello...can we try to quell that. How about diabetes? Ban sugar or non ADA diets in homes or you will be fired? Obesity..good one too. Heart disease caused by poor diet...get the AHA swat squad to that house...he is eating bacon!". SHEEEEEEEESH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. by   arciedee
    Actually, obesity is their next focus:

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/01/31/news...reut/index.htm

    I'm torn on this one... on the one hand I'm tired of my health insurance premiums going up every year because of everyone else's health risks (I do not smoke, I am at a healthy weight, and exercise regularly... wear my seatbelt, too!). But at the same time, it feels way too "big brother" for me... I don't want my employer to dictate how to live my life when I am a responsible adult making choices for myself.

    I suppose you do have to keep in mind that this is one company, and if someone is opposed to the policy, then they have the option of not going to work there. They have been very open about it, so no one can say they didn't know...
  5. by   Antikigirl
    Health premiums will ALWAY rise..no matter what the conditions of patients are...a good thing to learn if you are in this field! They rise from increasing costs of equipment, staff, administrative costs, facility running costs, the costs of folks coming in without insurance..the whole gambit! Those are the sticklers...not patient to condition ratio! Heck, why not...if you want to make or save a buck..don't go in the trend towards healthy living...go for the things that do not change like I mentioned! Make sence?

    No, your premiums will rise no matter what you do..it has little bearing on actual healthcare...no no no, healthcare is a business, and they do go by business rules (the reason nurses are so unhappy!!!!!!).

    If my premiums actually raised for PATIENT CARE, I would pay...but I know it isn't what my buck is going for..and that makes me sad.....
  6. by   James Huffman
    Quote from Tommybabe
    Have you all heard about the company Weyco that fired four people for smoking away from work? The employees violated a company policy that prohibits smoking, both on and off the job. I am not a smoker, and I know that it's bad for people, but I believe that adults have the right to smoke. I can't believe that a company would fire someone for doing something away from work that is legal, and doesn't negatively affect their work performance. I'm wondering if hospitals and nursing homes, who are in the health business, will follow suit and forbid their nurses and doctors from smoking away from work. After all, Weyco claims that smokers increases healthcare costs, but so do alcoholics and treatment for obesity. What's next, banning employees from eating double cheeseburgers and drinking alcohol at home? Is this really a good idea?
    This policy is moronic, and the action is stupid.

    That having been said, the company had a policy forbidding the smoking. The employees knew, or should have known, that this was a policy. If they wanted to smoke, they shouldn't work for this company.

    An earlier post suggested that obesity would be the next target of the nannies in HR. I agree. And look for employer actions against other "unhealthy" activities coming down the path.

    Perhaps the question that needs asking is: If employers are concerned that "unhealthy" activities are raising healthcare costs, should we as a society perhaps ponder whether we need to separate work and health insurance? The reason health insurance is often paid by employers is because it is a tax-deductible expense (to the employer) and non-taxed income to the employee. But as long as employers are having to deal with increased health insurance premiums, they will try whatever they can (no matter how ridiculous) to lower those rates.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  7. by   UM Review RN
    I wonder where they get all that research from? One thing I noticed in my practice as a Cardiac nurse is that most of my patients are THIN!

    Surprised? I was. I thought I'd be dealing with lots of fatties. Oh no! I have had runners, the weight-conscious, smokers, young people, older people--and the disproportionately represented group, according to my strictly casual personal survey, is not the overweight patient, but the diabetic patient.

    So when are companies going to fire all those noncompliant diabetics?

    (tongue in cheek there, people)

    Or wiser still, find a cure?
  8. by   Antikigirl
    OH angio! I so did too!!!!!!! I have such a range in patients...and disease or conditions seems to be rather an equal opportunity employer! I have people that have never been really sick in their lives and suddenly drop dead when they were doing their daily walks! Or a diabetic overweight smoker make it through surgery that no one thought they had a chance on! I have seen so much contraditction to the 'rules' that I have to refer to what I was barely taught in school...each person is an individual and makes adaptions to survive given them!

    Classic example...the heart..who stands a better chance of surviving an MI..the patient with previous heart conditions! Why..because their body opened up vessles to compensate for those not working well....so it isn't the strength of the heart..it is its ablility to use what it has in acute and chronic situations that works!

    I so hear you!!!!!!!!!! Makes my mind spin and keeps my job other than dull! LOL!

    But this is NOT something looked at via insurance...oh heck no! Too complex? Perhaps..but remember..they aren't in this for health...it is a money making business.
  9. by   CseMgr1
    Slowly but surely we, as a nation, are losing our individual rights.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Yep, whoever said rising premiums are due to fat or smoking people is not clear on the scam the insurance industry is running. They have us all by the *&%$, patients, doctors, hospitals, nurses.....all of us. It's a case of the inmates running an asylum, if you ask me. It's crazy and they need to be reined in. It's high time.
  11. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from arciedee
    I suppose you do have to keep in mind that this is one company, and if someone is opposed to the policy, then they have the option of not going to work there. They have been very open about it, so no one can say they didn't know...
    Bingo....

    I don't like it anymore than the next guy. This rule smacks of holier-than-thou and what not... but that's the rub of it. The employees didn't have to work there and the company has not exactly been secretive of it...
  12. by   Tweety
    I'm a bit torn. While it certainly is within their rights to smoke at home. Did they sign some kind of agreement to quit smoking while they are employed there? They choose to work there under those conditions. I dont' think there's no one taking away their right to smoke at home. They certainly exercised that right and didn't go to jail.

    I'm sure legally someone is going to challenge this. Should be interesting because it does smack of discrimination.
  13. by   URO-RN
    I've followed this story a bit, and from my understanding, this is a new policy for the company. Employees were told about it and in a way the company said, " either stop smoking or get out". The company has offered to help employees quit. I hope some have taken advantage of this opportunity. While I hope that some have chosen their job over a nicotine habit, in the end ,it is up to the individual.
    Last edit by Jo Anne on Feb 9, '05
  14. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from arciedee
    Actually, obesity is their next focus:

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/01/31/news...reut/index.htm

    I'm torn on this one... on the one hand I'm tired of my health insurance premiums going up every year because of everyone else's health risks (I do not smoke, I am at a healthy weight, and exercise regularly... wear my seatbelt, too!). But at the same time, it feels way too "big brother" for me... I don't want my employer to dictate how to live my life when I am a responsible adult making choices for myself.

    I suppose you do have to keep in mind that this is one company, and if someone is opposed to the policy, then they have the option of not going to work there. They have been very open about it, so no one can say they didn't know...

    well said

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