Sunday, 4 November 2007

You Might Lose Your Job If You Smoke or Eat Junk Food

You Might Lose Your Job If You Smoke or Eat Junk Food

In an effort to reduce health care costs, employers are beginning toscrutinize the lifestyle habits of their employees -- even those thathappen outside of business hours.

It's commonplace for insurance companies to question clients abouttheir smoking habits, weight, or other health issues. However, a newtrend has employers screening employees and new job applicants forthese same factors. The following factors could now put your job onthe line:

1. Smoking
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 actionagainst what they deem unhealthy behaviors, but the list is growing.For instance, in September 2007 The Cleveland Clinic began screeningpotential employees for nicotine. If any is found in their systems,they're denied employment.

In 2009, another company, Clarian Health, plans to start chargingemployees $5 per paycheck if they are found using tobacco or to haveabnormal levels of cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, employees at Weyco Incorporated can be charged $50 feesper paycheck not only if they smoke, but if their spouse smokes aswell.

Privacy advocates are concerned that these monitoring trends will getout of hand, with employers charging fines for eating fast food orvisiting a tavern. Most experts believe, however, that as health carecosts continue to rise, employers will continue to enact penaltiesfor unhealthy behaviors.

Sources:The Business Shrink September 27, 2007

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