Health Care Company That Fired Smokers Also Targeting Fat
Weyers Won't Fire Employees For Obesity
POSTED: 10:20 am EST January 27, 2005
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.The four employees were fired for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke. Weyers said the company doesn't want to pay the higher health care costs associated with smoking.An official of the company -- which administers health benefits -- estimated that 18 to 20 of its 200 employees were smokers when the policy was first announced in 2003. As many as 14 of them quit smoking before the policy went into effect.