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Weyco Inc Fires All Smoking Employee's

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This is just ridiculous. Weyco Inc has put in place a policy that employee's can no longer smoke, even on their own time. The policy was put in place under the guise of lowering their health care insurance expenses. This is a clear case of discrimination against a legal act.

What's next, firing people who drink coffee because it stains their teeth and increases their dental costs? How about firing people who are promiscuous because they potentially put their health at risk? How about firing all gays because it is shown they have a higher rate of STD's? How about firing obese people or requiring them to take certain tests because they may eat to much?

I'm all for companies being able to hire and fire due to competency, but direct discrimination based on someone who is doing a legal act on their own time is just outrageous.


Four employees of a health care company have been fired for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke cigarettes.

Weyco Inc., a health benefits administrator based in Okemos, Mich., adopted a policy Jan. 1 that allows employees to be fired if they smoke, even if the smoking happens after business hours or at home.

Company founder Howard Weyers has said the anti-smoking rule was designed to shield the firm from high health care costs. "I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said.

The rule led one employee to quit before the policy was adopted. Four others were fired when they balked at the smoking test.

Tipped by: Dean's World who ridiculously agrees with the company.

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Posted by Digger on January 26, 2005 11:39 AM (Permalink)

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I should point out that the opinions I write on Dean's World are my own, and do not necessarily reflect Dean's opinion on the matter.

Posted by: Michael on January 26, 2005 12:01 PM

I could understand their position if smoking was illegal but it isnt. If the state and federal government were not making millions in taxes off tobacco maybe they would care about the health issue. Anti smoking groups want to blame tobacco for every disease ie: He had a heart attack and died because he was a smoker not because he was overweight by 200lbs. I hope these employees sue Weyco Inc. and win then see how much Weyco Inc has saved through their dictatorship.

Posted by: Mike Polansky on February 9, 2005 07:18 AM

When an employee complains about the smokey environment he works in, say a bar or a restaurant, and the owner of said establishment doesn't want change his policy, that owner says to his employee, "If you don't like it, you don't have to work here. You have a choice. You can work at another company. I won't want government to tell me how I can run my business."

BUT, when a private business owner such as Howard Weyers of Weyco runs his business the way HE sees fit, which means he will not hire or continue to employee anyone who smokes, then all of a sudden smokers forget their adage about private business owners, and they run to lawmakers to get this changed. "It's not fair!!" they cry. Why are smokers all for private business owners doing what they please in some businesses (restaurants/bars) but not in others??

Why don't smokers just simply play by their own rules and say, "Well, if smokers don't like Weyco's policy on smoking, they don't have to work there. They can find a job elsewhere. They don't own their job. etc..."??

Then they dilute the argument with that slippery slope thing..."What's next? Firing those who do extreme sports?" Well, guess what, if you do extreme sports, and your employer says he's going to fire everyone who doesn't stop doing extreme sports FOR WHATEVER REASON OR FOR NO REASON, and you don't like his policy, YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORK THERE.

It works both ways.

Posted by: Joel on December 29, 2005 09:57 AM

Joel, The difference is Howard Weyers is trying to control what people do when they are not being paid by him. If he wants to pay them 24/7 then he can make a policy of no smoking while on duty. Smoking is no illegal and I hope these employees sue him and take him to the cleaners. And NO I AM NOT A SMOKER and never have been.

Posted by: Tim on April 25, 2010 10:17 PM

This has nothing to do with control. Do the employees of this company pay for their own medical insurance?? If the company is PAYING FOR THEIR MEDICAL INSURANCE, then I think the owner has every right to say if an employee can or can't smoke. I guarantee if an employee starts paying in full for their own medical insurance they'll think long and hard about whether they want to continue to smoke!

Posted by: Not a Smoker! on July 22, 2010 03:03 PM

If this is because the the employer pays for health insurance then the owner simply should have indicated that smokers will not be insured in any way shape or form by the company if they smoke. If it is legal to do, then owners of businesses should not have a right to terminated employees because of it.

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