And this is only the beginning...as it appears there is nothing stopping the surge...you do have a choice...start your own business if working for one of these companies is too stressful..soon is won't be a matter of what your skill are, it's more of what kind of body you have and what you do with it that will make the difference...as from this article employers can and will make it near impossible to be employed there if you do not fit the mold...scary...read the part about Ford's team imposing and visiting employees homes to profile their lifestyles...they were fired if they did not meet the standards...scary..BD
Some take punitive steps against smokers, overweight workers
LANSING, Mich. - Get ready to say goodbye to the days of high-fat meals, junk food snacks and that after-work cigarette you always enjoy smoking -- at least if you intend to have a job and health insurance. The rules of the workplace are changing, and personal behavior and lifestyle habits -- those unrelated to what you do at work -- are now fair game for employers determined to cut health-care costs.
If you smoke, you may not get hired and you could get fired. If your cholesterol is too high, you can pay higher premiums for your insurance. The same goes for blood pressure, body mass and blood glucose levels. The requirements embraced by a growing number of companies are encroaching on privacy and raising questions about who will qualify for health insurance, as well as employment.
And Weyco Inc., the suburban Lansing, Mich.-based company that drew national attention in 2005 when it fired four employees who used tobacco, has expanded the health insurance requirement, penalizing employees whose insured spouses smoke or chew tobacco. Penalties are $50 per employee paycheck.
The question for employees is: How far will these requirements on personal habits and penalties go, and what sort of criteria will employers use to define good health?
"I wasn't robbing banks or killing people or doing illegal drugs," Ingalls said. "Are they going to tell me I'm 12 pounds overweight and then start telling me what I can eat?" A century ago Henry Ford created a so-called Sociological Department, a team of 150 investigators who visited employees' homes and asked them about drinking, gambling, diet, savings and other personal matters. Those who didn't meet Ford's standards within six months were fired.
Weyco Inc. of suburban Lansing, Mich., performs random testing every three months, usually of about 30 employees. Workers are summoned to blow into a Breathalyzer-like device that measures carbon monoxide levels. If the reading is high, employees take a urine test. If they fail the urinalysis twice they will be dismissed. One person was fired in 2006, a company official said, and none this year.
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