First They Came For The Smokers

I posted the other day about a company that fired four workers for being smokers, regardless if they did it on their personal time. Now that same company is going after overweight people.

A Michigan health care company that fired four employees for smoking is also targeting fat.

Howard Weyers, the founder of Weyco Inc., said he wants to tell fat workers to lose weight or else, Reuters reported.

Weyers brought in weight experts to speak with employees, according to Reuters. The company also offers employees a $35 monthly incentive for joining a health club and $65 for meeting fitness goals.

But the company isn’t planning to fire employees for unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to a Weyco news release.

“Anyone concerned about limiting employers’ rights to specify terms of employment should know that federal law protects people with conditions like obesity, alcoholism and AIDS. But there’s no right to indulge in tobacco,” the news release said.

Four Weyco employees were fired after the company enacted a new policy this month, allowing workers to be fired if they smoke, even if the smoking takes place after hours or at home.

So the company isn’t planning to fire anybody for unhealthy lifestyle choices (well, except for smokers) but the founder wants employees to lose weight or else? Seems like a very pleasant working atmosphere. The EEOC has a good page about discrimantory practices and I am not sure if the smokers have a chance at a lawsuit although there is a big question about firing somebody because of their weight. In some instances it can be considered a disability and that is something an employer may not fire you for.

What do you guys think?

(Thanks Marlea for the link)


  1. St. Louis, Mo. ( — Forty-four-year-old asbestos removal worker Joseph Pullazo, smoking a Marlboro as he waited for his Big Mac and fries at a McDonald’s drive-up window, said he was going to “have a fuckin’ heart attack” if he had to wait any longer for his order to arrive. “I swear, it’s the waitin’ that’s gonna kill me,” said the 320-pound Pullazo, as he flicked ashes into one of several half empty beer cans strewn across the seat of his Mitsubishi Montero SUV. “C’mon! I don’t have forever here!”

  2. This all seems like an easy way to make a lottle of media noise. And possibly attract the increasing number of “health addicts”?

  3. Obesity except in a very few cases can be eliminated through proper diet and exercise. Unless you have one of but a few endocrinology related metabolic imbalances reducing food intake and increasing physical exertion will cause weight loss. If somebody whines to you they can’t lose weight no matter how hard they try the statistical odds are they’re lying or in denial. Obesity leads to a host of health problems, includung diabetes, cardiac failure or disease, joint and skeletal stress, high blood pressure, decreased sexual potency and desire and lack of energy. Sure, there are obese people that don’t fall victim to any of the above, but if an employer wants employees not prone to such maladies I say more power to him. If it takes a negative incentive such as threat of job loss to wake up a person to their plight so be it.

  4. And WTF is a health addict? Judging from the chain smoking pudgies that populate the country merely eating right and moderate exercise would put you in that category. Better a health addict than a wheezing Twinkie junky tooling the aisles at Wal-Mart.

  5. the thing is, steve, we live in america. remember? the land of the FREE. if someone is overweight, they have every right to be overweight. if someone is a smoker, they have every right to be a smoker. if someone chooses to sky dive or rock climb or deep sea dive, they have every right to participate in those activities – even though those activities may pose a risk to their health. if you don’t like the fact that some people smoke and some people are fat and some people enjoy tooling through walmart eating a twinkie, guess what? as an american, you are entitled to feel that way. but you cannot force, or even expect, others to adhere to the lifestyle that you find least offensive. and not only that, but every day you hear of some study that reports on something else that causes illness. today it was ‘drinking too much tea’. this company has drawn a line in the sand that is dangerous to the freedom of all americans to live a life of their choosing. what if your employer decided that some aspect of your life was too much of a risk for them to continue to employ you? can’t you see where this is headed?

  6. and let me be clear here, since you didnt notice the verbage in my original post regarding the smoking issue: people in america are free to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes, in accordance with american law. meaning, if it is legal to do in america, then people are entitled to engage in that activity in the privacy of their homes. your comment about signing contracts with different stipulations is different, you are being considered for a position and you are choosing to either abide by the stipulations or not. most jobs do not require signing contracts that prohibit lawful behavior. i am not advocating illegal behavior in this or my post to the previous topic, so please do not infer that i did.

  7. The health fascists are on the march!

    I have two big problems with this.

    The first is that I don’t understand on what grounds should an employer be allowed to impose his/her own opinion on lifestyles onto his employees? The personal opinion of the employer has absolutely no higher ‘moral’ value than that of his employee. And his power related to ‘keeping your job’ should not, in my view, be used for that purpose. I mean, it would just be like forcing my neighbour from the end of a gun to stop eating cornflakes cause, in my view, they contain far too much sugars!

    The second is that I believe there is a big difference between ‘providing an environment which encourages a healthy lifestyle’ and ‘enforcing to adopt a healthy lifestyle’.

  8. I presently work for an employer whom I had worked for 4 years ago (I was layed off / lack of work). I hired back in their last year and the first thing the employer said was ” I know it’s none of my business, and I am probably out of line but I care about you, you got to lose weight, your to slow moving around in the manufacturing area to be as productive as other employees. I have been assigned dutys like janatorial and manuel jobs like making pallets or grinding parts even though I am vary capable of doing most of the other jobs the other employees are doing (I did these jobs the last time I worked there). I also have my age comming into play here, I’m closing in on 50 .The company has to do what they got to do. I realize that they have to maintain produtivity and all, and it’s painful (pride)(ego) to see others that I worked with prevoiusly at this job snickering at me because I’m treated like the low man on the totem pole , but i’m just grateful to have a job. Losing weight sounds great but if you have never had a addiction problem you can’t possibly under stand a thing about it. You just see a fat person or a slob or whatever you judge us to be . I have over come addiction to drugs and alocohol and also ciggerets for almost 15 years this time but I gained 100 lbs . The intelectuals out there and know it alls would say that if I can do that then I should be able to lose some weight, but this is the hardist thing I have had delt with, bar none .
    I suspect that the problem is alot deeper than just losing weight for me. The weight is just the symtom of obesity. I will deal whth this problem of mine . If you employers want to really benifit your company, take some of your profits and buy everyone in your work place a membership in a health club, fat or skinny, smoker or not. Quit putting profits before people. As for the rest of you out there who think you know something, yes every asshole has an opinion, hope you never have an addiction to work out your pride and ego may explode your head. Quit your bitchen and be grateful your working too. Wolverinetom

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