The Passing of Peter Jennings
Let’s say the guy was making $100,000 a year or $2,000 a week. His six weeks on the fire escape satisfying his addiction meant he was bilking the company out of $12,000 a year.
According to government statistics, smoking causes 440,000 premature deaths a year with smoking-related health care costs amounting to $75 billion. Total cost to the economy is $167 billion.
General Motors spends the equivalent of $1,525 per car on employee health care. Smoking is a large part of the problem. Little wonder the company cannot make a profit.
Help is on the Way
From a Feb. 8, 2005, Wall Street Journal story by Jeremy W. Peters titled, “Company’s Smoking Ban Means Off-Hours, Too”:
OKEMOS, Mich. -- Warning: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your job.
That is what employees at Weyco, an insurance benefits administrator in this small central Michigan town, found out.
Under a new policy that legal specialists say is the first of its kind, Weyco began testing its 200 employees for smoking in January. And the company put workers on alert: In the future, they will be subject to random testing. If they fail, they will be fired.
Rather than take the mandatory breathalyzer test, four employees left the company.
And while Weyco’s strict no-smoking policy is drawing the ire of civil liberties groups, it is within the bounds of employment law in Michigan. The state is one of 20 that has no laws preventing employers from firing workers who smoke even when they are not at work.
Stephanie Armour of USA Today reported that Alaska Airlines instituted a no smoking policy for its employees and that a urine test is required to prove new hires are free of tobacco.
I am a loner. I work at home and have no employees.