Wednesday, April 23

39 Employees Canned For Smoking, Lying, Lying About Smoking

A Whirlpool plant in Indiana has suspended 39 employees who were apparently caught smoking after they claimed on their insurance forms that they were eligible for a $500 credit the company gives to nonsmokers.

My first question was: how in the hell did they get caught? I mean, if there is one group of people who has figured out how to expertly conceal their bad habits, it's smokers. You don't see nailbiters spraying themselves with acrylic in the car on the way home or blaming the nail shreds on the ground on their buddies who were over the night before. Smokers know how to hide it, right?

The workers were suspended after they continued to smoke in designated locations outside the Evansville plant despite enrolling for health insurance in October as non-smokers, avoiding the penalty.*

Okay. Well, I've got nothing to say to that. Consider the $500 a "moron tax" or something.

So now what? With the trend of offering credits for nonsmokers growing so fast, the termination creates a serious question about the plan's future. According to the Tribune's article, these benefits have always been based on the honor system. If Whirlpool found 39 workers, and is threatening more terminations in the future, how viable is the model for everyone else?

Honestly, if smokers have been hiding their habits from their parents and teachers and girlfriends and kids for years and years, what's an employer? If you were offered $500 to say you didn't smoke, and you'd been saying you didn't smoke since you were 14 or something, why wouldn't you sign the dang form?

Besides, you know, losing your job and all.

*[from the Chicago Tribune]