You Might Lose Your Job If You Smoke or Eat Junk Food
November 03, 2007
In an effort to reduce health care costs, employers are beginning to scrutinize the lifestyle habits of their employees -- even those that happen outside of business hours.
It’s commonplace for insurance companies to question clients about their smoking habits, weight, or other health issues. However, a new trend has employers screening employees and new job applicants for these same factors. The following factors could now put your job on the line:
2. Blood pressure
3. Blood glucose levels
4. Body mass
5. Bad cholesterol levels
Currently only a small portion of U.S. employers have taken action against what they deem unhealthy behaviors, but the list is growing. For instance, in September 2007 The Cleveland Clinic began screening potential employees for nicotine. If any is found in their systems, they’re denied employment.
In 2009, another company, Clarian Health, plans to start charging employees $5 per paycheck if they are found using tobacco or to have abnormal levels of cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Meanwhile, employees at Weyco Incorporated can be charged $50 fees per paycheck not only if they smoke, but if their spouse smokes as well.
Privacy advocates are concerned that these monitoring trends will get out of hand, with employers charging fines for eating fast food or visiting a tavern. Most experts believe, however, that as health care costs continue to rise, employers will continue to enact penalties for unhealthy behaviors.