Thursday, January 12, 2006

Get Healthy or Get Fired!

As I was reading the morning news, I came across an article that caught my attention. The article, "Can boss insist on healthy habits?" talks about a company called, Weyco, which as of last year fired people who didn't quit smoking. Now, it wants to mandate its emloyees to take annual medical exams or else their insurance premiums will go up.

Can employers do this? Apparently there is nothing illegal about enforcing these rules. The fact of the matter is if you are overweight/obese, you will most likely cost the company more money because you are unhealthy. But I'm not sure I feel all that comfortable with this. I see the benefits of people developing healthier habits, but should my boss tell me to do so?

If they tell me to lead a healthier lifestyle, what else will they tell me to do? If I have more than 2.5 kids, will I get fired because I'm costing the company more money? Or if I engage in extreme sports that could cause bodily damage, will I loose my job because I'm a high risk employee? I know these examples sound out there, but so does if you don't practice being healthy, you'll be fired.

What companies should do instead of firing people for being unhealthy is open up gym facilities at their company. I know some big companies do so already. They should also have daycares at these facilities. This way men and women have the opportunity to workout and not have to worry about their kids being picked up from daycare. Get rid of the vending machines or at least supply the vending machines with healthy alternatives.

If the company is not that large where it doesn't have the room for a gym and a daycare center, then find the nearest gym and try to get some kind of discount for the employees. Do the same with a nearby daycare center. People have enough going on in their lives to be forced to lead a healthier lifestyle without any help.

It's easy for me to sit here and tell you should workout everyday and eat healthy when I don't have kids to worry about. Actually, I'm pretty positive if I did have kids working out would be a lot tougher. So employers need to help out with the cause if they want their employees to be healthy. Don't point the finger if you're not going to make it easier for others.

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