Skip to comments.Company demands workers give up smoking to keep jobs
Posted on 12/10/2005 1:40:02 PM PST by Crackingham
Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., looking for ways to hold down health insurance costs, will require workers who smoke to quit by October or lose their jobs. The lawn and garden company wants workers to live healthy lifestyles, said James Hagedorn, the company's chairman and chief executive. Scotts recently opened a $5 million fitness and medical facility. Scotts is joining other companies focusing on smokers to cut health insurance costs. Some companies make employees who smoke pay higher health insurance premiums, or don't hire them.
"Why would we admit someone into this environment when they're passing risk along to everyone else? Our view is we shouldn't and we won't," Hagedorn said.
Scotts, which made $100 million on sales of $2.3 billion in its last fiscal year, has 6,000 employees in the United States and overseas. It said it can fire smokers legally in 21 states.
"We're being as aggressive as the law will allow us, to keep our costs under control," Hagedorn said.
Scotts pays for 75 percent of employees' health insurance but won't say how much that runs. The company also will require higher premiums for workers who refuse to take a health survey in 2006. In 2007, premiums will rise for workers who don't follow doctor recommendations to improve their health.
In a 2004 survey of 270 professionals, the Society for Human Resource Management found 4.4 percent preferred to not hire smokers. Fewer than 1 percent said their companies have a formal policy against hiring smokers.
This year, Okemos, Mich.-based Weyco Inc. began firing workers who smoke.
Scotts, based in this town 30 miles northwest of Columbus, is offering free counseling, nicotine patches and classes on quitting to workers who smoke. The company hasn't figure out how it will determine whether employees are in compliance, spokesman Jim King said.
Gays have higher healthcosts, too. I wonder if they will make the homofaggots go straight to lower costs.
So do obese people, will they be forced to trim down or be fired also?
Why stop there? Why not fire an employee who Scott's feel is obese or drinks too much, doesn't exercise enough etc...
Far as I can see- they're a private company. They should be able to hire and fire as they wish. If they don't want smokers, that's their business.
I will have to find a new fertilizer now.
James Hagedorn is my 1st choice.
Whichever side you fall on this, I would immediately fire anyone who put this policy into place without thinking it through. That's just horrible business practice!!
I can't even imagine that they would have a meeting approving this policy without asking, "Okay, how do we implement this?"
Maybe they should require their workers to give up being fat, too. Or down the list of other health considerations....
3 packs a day
I quit cold-turkey 3 years ago.
but it was MY decision and though I wish everyone would quit, It' sure isn't my place to force anyone to.
And yes, my health has improved vastly.
Lets not overlook elderly people, clearly their health costs are higher.
Is that legal? What about diabetics, or if you get breast cancer? Those are big ticket insurance costs. How about gay employees? Do they have to quit being gay? Blacks and Hispanics tend to have a higher rate of diabetes, than whites. What are they going to do about those employees?
I believe I won't purchase Scott's products in the future.
The right to smoke doesn't exist and employers have the right to hire or not to hire anyone in my book. I love tobacco, btw, and enjoy a good Romeo and Julieta maduro reserve from time to time.
What about people who work there, smoke, but have insurance through their spouses employer?
Or what about people who work there, don't smoke, but the spouses do?
What about family coverage where a teenager smokes without permission? Fire the Dad or Mom?
Can of worms people. Keep the powers that be out of our lives, or next they'll come for you.
BTW, my wife and I quit smoking in 1988, in case any wonders.
On 2nd thought being elderly isnt a choice, smoking is.
They can do what they want as a private company but their gains by not having smokers will be off set by smokers who no longer bye their product.
*Being gay is a choice and should be included.
You're correct, they are a private company that is making a political statement........
As a private individual, you can choose what private companies you do business with.....
Besides, there is a strong argument that this company is attempting to control their employees lives beyond the scope of their employment. These employees compensation, or advancement is not being judged on how they perform, but what legal activities they do on their off time.
This runs in the face of the concept of freedom and rugged individualism that made this country great.
The wonders of mob group-think mentality. Now sweeping a nation near you.
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