You’re fired

So did anyone hear this story?

Quit smoking or quit your job, company says

You know, I’m probably going to piss off a lot of people for this, but I agree with most of his actions. Personally, I think that if someone intentionally does harm to their own body, they should lose their employer’s health benefits. Health insurance costs are absolutely insane in this country and sure, a good chunk of it has to do with lawyers and the corrupted greed in the business. However, part of it also has to do with the people that are covered who are being reckless with their own lives. If you smoke, you are ruining your body and will most likely die a pretty gruesome death from it, so why should I pay for your benefits when you don’t even care about your own life? The same goes for people who abuse drugs (both legal and not legal), who drink too much alcohol, who don’t wear seat belts, who are grossly overweight, etc. If you are INTENTIONALLY doing your body harm, you should stop making others pay for your health benefits and you need to fully fund your own. Then we’ll see who puts their lives on the straight and narrow path mighty quickly eh? However, I really do not believe you have to fire your own employees but, let’s not forget this is his private business and I’ve always believed private business owners have the right to do as they see fit with their business. I think if he just outright cancelled their benefits, it would be more acceptable than losing their jobs. Also, making them not smoke at home is a bit over the top, mostly because there is no way to enforce it if you really think about it.

Heck, even I understand first hand what can happen to you if you start mistreating your body. Around September of last year, I was up to 250 pounds and had to take many more sick days, I always felt like crap and what drove the point home was that I had started to get problems with my heart. Thankfully no permanent damage was done in that area, but you better believe it light a fire under my ass to do something about it. As of the moment of writing this, I am now at 205 and steadily heading down in weight. I feel much better, my cholesterol dropped 30 points and blood pressure is steadily normalizing and I haven’t been at all ill since I was heavier. From an employee’s point of view I know for a small amount of time, I contributed to the high costs of the health insurance in my company and I feel pretty fucking bad about it. I know when we have to renew our benefits contracts the next time around, a small chunk of the raised prices are because of me. What lets me down the most is the fact that if I had treated my own health and body better, it none of my health problems partially causing the raise would have never happened.

What do you all think about this possibly important precedent setting issue?

13 replies on “You’re fired”

I agree with you, and the boss. Instead of firing though, I’d say drop the coverage, or at the very least, have it cost the employee a helluvalot more. Higher dedectable too, since he’ll be using it more. To further show what affects second-hand smoke does, increase the rate for his family too. Show him, person-by-person, how much more he has to pay due to his actions.

It’s a simple matter of math, really. Would someone who cliff-dives and rock-climbs and parachutes expect to pay the same amout of insurance as a soccer mom?

“Would someone who cliff-dives and rock-climbs and parachutes expect to pay the same amout of insurance as a soccer mom”

Most excellent point.

I also agree with your recommendations as well with regards to increasing rates for family members living with them because they are definitely doing harm to them as well. If you’re willing enough to risk the damage you are doing yourself and your family, you’re more than willing enough to be expected to pay for the consequences of your actions.

I’m mixed on the subject. It’s a free country and you can smoke if you want but as an owner of a business you can fire people for it if you want. I’m totally against smoking and I’m steadily decreasing in weight but I’d hate to be fired because I was fat or a smoker. It seems we’re very sensitive to overweight people.

One of the things I loved in Super Size Me was the story a guy who smokes tells about how he was out to dinner and people were yelling at a smoker, saying he was killing himself but didn’t say anything to the fat girl about killing herself. It’s amazing how we treat people sometimes.

But I can’t stop running in my head isn’t it hard enough for some people to just survive the day without having to lose weight and quit smoking just to hold down a job.

I watched my mother die from lung cancer due to cigarette smoking. I wish nobody smoked because it’s a horrible way to die. I wish all employers would outlaw it at work, but I have an issue with them telling people what they can do outside of work because I think it sets a bad precedent. If your employer can govern your time outside of work, what’s to stop him from saying you can’t be in a same-sex relationship (due to disease risks), can’t practice kinky sex (due to injury/disease risks), can’t drive a fast car (due to death risks)?

If we head in that direction, I think it gives an employer too much control.

Yeah, I believe the biggest problem with this case is going to be justifying what one can and can not do on/in their property. At that point, rights are being infringed upon and he will most likely get into a huge legal mess with that particular aspect of this issue.

Yeah, I loved that part in SuperSize me as well. *lol*

“But I can’t stop running in my head isn’t it hard enough for some people to just survive the day without having to lose weight and quit smoking just to hold down a job.”

I can sort of see what you’re saying, but if someone is really having a tough time paying bills and holding down a job, perhaps they should not be spending the money they are spending on cigarettes or the snacks and stuff that’s making them gain more weight? I’ve got friends who spend literally hundreds a dollars per month for their smokes, yet always complain about not having money to pay their rent…

Right but what about those people who eat crap food because they don’t know how to cook, don’t have the time to cook (work 2 or 3 jobs), or have such crazy schedules they can barely sleep let alone eat right or exercise. I’m not saying this is everyone. I got fat because I’m lazy and like junk food.

I’m with you on people who smoke but there are some people who honestly LOVE to smoke. My uncle had throat cancer and still smokes, lost his insurance because of it and still smokes. He loves it that much. Or there are people who are just addicted who are going thru hardships in their life (divorce, death, illness, etc) that don’t have anything to do with money.

I just don’t think it should be this hard to hold down a job. If you’re good at what you do and do your job well, you should have that job. It’s not hard enough competing against other people’s skills and education now we have to compete in these ways too? It’s like saying “Hey ya fat dirty smoker, I don’t smoke and I’m not overweight and neither should you be. You’re the best damn Sales Rep in the industry but you’re fired ya jerk unless you get rid of that fat ass and quit smoking. I’m not having any unhealthy smoking fatties at this company that’s for sure.”

I can see being a health concious company but this is kind of pushing things a little too far in my opinion.

Sometimes when a person gets big it is not their own fault. I’m 250 lbs and have an underactive thyroid, but no other major medical issues. it slows my metabolism a bit and makes me sluggish at time though. But people who abuse alcohol and other drugs I believe DO need to pay part of their own medical expenses, since other what they devote to their own habits end up costing more than the insurance itself. The punishment should fit the crime when it comes to stuff like tath.


I was actually very careful to state that I agree with people who are *intentionally* doing harm to their own bodies as opposed to people who perhaps have a genetic condition where something along the lines of what you are saying could occur.

Though, I’ve had more than a few friends who were rather large and went to doctors who swore up and down about thyroid conditions such as yours and that they would never lose weight. You know, once they started eating better and exercising a lot more, wouldn’t you know it… They lost the weight the doctor’s told them it was impossible to lose because of their condition. Of course I have other friends with the same condition and no matter what they do (exercise and diet wise I mean) they can’t lose weight…

Hmmm, so you’re saying that it’s ok for a person to go to Mickey D’s a few times a week for convenience’s sake and possibly risk getting cancer, stroke, diabetes, liver damage or heart disease and be a further drain on their employer’s health insurance down the line? I’m sorry, I really do not mean to pick on you or anything of the sort, but I can’t see how one could justify the insane amount of money I, you and all other hard working people have to pay to help out that person who’s “too lazy to cook.” If one’s not busy enough to sit at a drive-thru or wait in line at a fast food place, they’re also not too busy to go to a local grocery store and pick up some fruits to eat and do their bodies some good.

You also have to look at it from the employer’s perspective. Insuring your employees is damn expensive and if you’re stuck between letting go of all of your employees’ benefits because you’re having problems affording it as a business owner or just cutting off the people who are intentionally ruining their health and becoming a drain on your finances, what would you do? I’m sure that if your employer doubled or tripled your deductibles or even worse, stopped offering health benefits to *every* employee because they can’t afford the coverage, you might have a different attitude towards those individuals that are causing it in the first place.

See the problem you have here is I didn’t say it was RIGHT that people go to Mickey D’s. I just don’t think you should condemn them for it. So you fire them, they can’t get a job, and go on welfare. Your check is still paying for their medical benefits. They’ve got them one way or another. What about putting it in reverse. Also who says if you’re at the propper weight your healthy? There are a lot of people that have “cancer, stroke, diabetes, liver damage or heart disease” that are at a healthy weight but are internally unhealthy. Say I become anorexic or bullemic in order to “adhere to company standards” and die or need treatment. Do I get fired then too? So if this is the case at what point do you cut off “further drain on their employer’s health insurance down the line”

I also don’t mean to pick on you but if you say that if you’re thin then you’re healthy it’s totally false. But I do enjoy having a good arguement about fired topics such as this.

You are quite correct and I apologize for stating that you stated it was right for stuff to happen. 🙂 You also brought up several other good points with regards to the weight issue. Yes, seemingly healthy thin people do get cancer, heart attacks, liver problems and such. Being thin is no assurance of staying healthy, but the risks of contracting most major ailments (again, non hereditary) are greatly reduced as opposed to someone who’s 3, 4, 5 or 6 times their normal weight who’s essentially just asking for a world of hurt.

However, my point is that I’m only talking about people who *intentionally* do harm to themselves by undertaking these behaviors and such and thereby increasing the rates of health insurance for others. I hope you’ll agree that there’s an absolutly clear difference between someone who’s been a chain smoker for 20 years with lung cancer and a 25 year old who had a rare genetic condition and gets a rare form of lung cancer. That smoker *chose* to put that cigarette to their mouth and continue that behavior. A behavior that has been known to kill and cause health issues for millions of people in this world. The amount of money that individual uses to stay healthy with the chemo and meds and hospital stays and doctors would have not been needed if he took better care of himself. The 25 year old who might have never drank a drop or smoked a single cig just happened to get a bum deal due to some quirky DNA. I think it would be safe to say that there’s a heck of a lot more of those chain smokers in hospitals than the poor guy who’s dealt a bad hand. That’s what health insurance I think should be truly meant for… Those instances where things happen beyond our control and we need to be taken care of medically. In the same light, a normal person doesn’t buy auto insurance and intentionally go on a rampage running over everyone in sight and slamming your cars into building and other cars. One gets auto insurance *just in case* they happen to get into an accident and they need to make sure their finances are taken care of.

There’s a huge flaw in your point however. If you become anorexic simply to lose the weight, you are *still* intentionally doing something that is hurting your body and yes you are a drain on the employer’s health insurance. However, it should also be noted that this employer offered monetary compensation for gym memberships and brought in dieticians and offered to help offset the costs of the smoking cessation devices and even offered $100 dollar bonuses to those who lost weight! This guy was willing to spend the money to make his employees healthier because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the increases in health insurance that those same employees inflicted upon his business.

There’s nothing wrong with on occassion, having let’s say, a small serving of fries or perhaps getting a burger just to get some sustenance. Heck, a few days ago, I got myself a filet-o-fish which I haven’t done in a couple of years (and man did I have a horrible stomach ache afterwards *lol*). However, going to a fast food place twice a day for a week continually is most certainly cause for concern. You saw what happened to that guy in SuperSize Me when he did his experiment and he was on the verge of death at the end. People actually do that day in and day out and get morbidly obese and get heart problems and get liver problems. That’s an intentional action on their part where they know they are harming their own bodies which I have a huge problem with because I have to pay for it with my own money. The whole welfare thing is a completely other different mess which I also have a big problem with growing up in that environment, but I do not think going off in that tangent is relevant to this issue.

No worries at all, I definitely love this and I’m surprised more people aren’t throwing their two cents in! =) Though, let’s not call this an argument… There’s such a negative connotation to it… How’s about a lively debate. Yeah, that’s a nicer word… 😉

I see what you’re saying now and while I think your point is totally valid, something just feels really really wrong about it to me. Some really Naziesque vibe to it where you filter out the unwanted and are left with the best of the best health wise.

Great, I love a spirited debate too!

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