Chapter 5 Reading – Get Healthy or Else

September 23, 2009

This article is really timely given the on going debate over healthcare reform that is currently taking place. What this article shows is that employers have been put in a really tough spot. Our health insurance system is structured so that employers are often the primary providers of insurance, but people are not really comfortable when employers try and restrict what they can do as a way to help keep costs down. Employees hate having their employer interfere in their personal lives, but they also hate paying higher premiums. So, what is an employer to do? While I am not a fan of having employers manage our lives, it seems reasonable that, since they are footing the healthcare bill, they should be able to set some guidelines on what their employees can do. And, in this case, Scotts has given employees a choice—they can comply with the healthcare requirements or pay more in premiums. It is up to the employee to make that choice. That seems reasonable to me.

I am curious, with regard to the probationary employee fired for smoking, whether he was notified upfront that termination could be a consequence if he smoked. Given how thorough most legal departments are, I would imagine that notice would have been provided. Thus, the question becomes whether he read the information and understood what the policies were and what could happen if he did not comply. My guess is he either did not read it or did and ignored it. I believe that cases similar to his have been thrown out in other states, so it will be interesting to see what happens here.

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