Author Topic: Overheard at Work  (Read 6041699 times)

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7000 on: February 24, 2015, 09:26:24 AM »
so I don't have to replace the contractor at an unaffordable cost.
...which you'll still have to do eventually if he keeps wrecking his health, right?
But I'm fairly certain (though I'm not a lawyer) that it is not even legal for a manager to police his employees health

Tallgirl1204

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7001 on: February 24, 2015, 09:34:03 AM »
Not a really crazy money amount, but two co-workers just gave up their soda habits for Lent.  One was drinking 12 diet Cokes a day, the other was drinking 12 Mountain Dews (holy shit diabeetus).

The thought of waking up and drinking either of those in the morning really grosses me out.  Thought of this because of bigalsmith101's story about the guy drinking 40 oz of soda at 7 am.

This is great!  Good for them.  I used to give up processed/added sugar for Lent when I was in my 20's.  It is PAINFUL.  (And I admit I took up coffee instead, which somewhat defeated the purpose.)  The good news is that after the first couple of weeks, other stuff (like carrots) started to taste so good.  And I never really picked up the sugar habit at the same level again. 
 

I hope they can make it.  It could be a life-changer. 

zephyr911

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7002 on: February 24, 2015, 09:38:43 AM »
so I don't have to replace the contractor at an unaffordable cost.
...which you'll still have to do eventually if he keeps wrecking his health, right?
But I'm fairly certain (though I'm not a lawyer) that it is not even legal for a manager to police his employees health
Well, I wouldn't advocate anything illegal or unethical, but isn't there anything you can say that expresses concern for such choices? As you say, you don't want to lose him.
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johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7003 on: February 24, 2015, 10:00:11 AM »
so I don't have to replace the contractor at an unaffordable cost.
...which you'll still have to do eventually if he keeps wrecking his health, right?
But I'm fairly certain (though I'm not a lawyer) that it is not even legal for a manager to police his employees health
Well, I wouldn't advocate anything illegal or unethical, but isn't there anything you can say that expresses concern for such choices? As you say, you don't want to lose him.
If it is in fact illegal, then the consequences of getting sued over this would probably be more damaging than losing an employee.

But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7004 on: February 24, 2015, 10:25:44 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7005 on: February 24, 2015, 10:40:09 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)
Don't get me wrong, I actually like the consequences of the policy - I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of secondhand smoke. But whether I like the policy or not has no bearing on whether it is or isn't legal.

I took the time to actually look up the law on smoking in my state...and it turns out you're right.
Quote
Any person, who owns, operates, manages, or controls an establishment, facility, or outdoor area can declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.  Smoking can also be prohibited in any place by placing a sign stating that smoking is prohibited in the area.
So prohibiting smoking in an outdoor area under your control is perfectly allowed.

However, IMO there are still problems with this policy - it even bans smokeless forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Now while I wasn't able to find a strict definition of "smoking," as defined by my state, I'd imagine it doesn't include things like chewing tobacco. I can't see any justification for that ban other than the board of regents, which governs all public schools in my state, wants to policy student and employee health. which is even a stated goal of the policy
Quote
The goal of the policy is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying our campuses.
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

EDIT: Sorry to get this thread off on a tangent...

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7006 on: February 24, 2015, 10:42:37 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)
Don't get me wrong, I actually like the consequences of the policy - I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of secondhand smoke. But whether I like the policy or not has no bearing on whether it is or isn't legal.

I took the time to actually look up the law on smoking in my state...and it turns out you're right.
Quote
Any person, who owns, operates, manages, or controls an establishment, facility, or outdoor area can declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.  Smoking can also be prohibited in any place by placing a sign stating that smoking is prohibited in the area.
So prohibiting smoking in an outdoor area under your control is perfectly allowed.

However, IMO there are still problems with this policy - it even bans smokeless forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Now while I wasn't able to find a strict definition of "smoking," as defined by my state, I'd imagine it doesn't include things like chewing tobacco. I can't see any justification for that ban other than the board of regents, which governs all public schools in my state, wants to policy student and employee health. which is even a stated goal of the policy
Quote
The goal of the policy is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying our campuses.
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

EDIT: Sorry to get this thread off on a tangent...

I think it is easy to include smokeless tobacco in the ban because of the problem with people spitting tobacco "juice" on the ground. I think they could probably make a rule about chewing gum as well. 

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7007 on: February 24, 2015, 10:53:24 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)
Don't get me wrong, I actually like the consequences of the policy - I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of secondhand smoke. But whether I like the policy or not has no bearing on whether it is or isn't legal.

I took the time to actually look up the law on smoking in my state...and it turns out you're right.
Quote
Any person, who owns, operates, manages, or controls an establishment, facility, or outdoor area can declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.  Smoking can also be prohibited in any place by placing a sign stating that smoking is prohibited in the area.
So prohibiting smoking in an outdoor area under your control is perfectly allowed.

However, IMO there are still problems with this policy - it even bans smokeless forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Now while I wasn't able to find a strict definition of "smoking," as defined by my state, I'd imagine it doesn't include things like chewing tobacco. I can't see any justification for that ban other than the board of regents, which governs all public schools in my state, wants to policy student and employee health. which is even a stated goal of the policy
Quote
The goal of the policy is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying our campuses.
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

EDIT: Sorry to get this thread off on a tangent...

I think it is easy to include smokeless tobacco in the ban because of the problem with people spitting tobacco "juice" on the ground. I think they could probably make a rule about chewing gum as well.
But is there actually a legal justification for including smokeless tobacco in this ban? That's my real beef with the policy. This is resolved if "smoking" includes smokeless tobacco, but I'm having trouble finding the legal definition of smoking at the moment.

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7008 on: February 24, 2015, 10:56:38 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)
Don't get me wrong, I actually like the consequences of the policy - I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of secondhand smoke. But whether I like the policy or not has no bearing on whether it is or isn't legal.

I took the time to actually look up the law on smoking in my state...and it turns out you're right.
Quote
Any person, who owns, operates, manages, or controls an establishment, facility, or outdoor area can declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.  Smoking can also be prohibited in any place by placing a sign stating that smoking is prohibited in the area.
So prohibiting smoking in an outdoor area under your control is perfectly allowed.

However, IMO there are still problems with this policy - it even bans smokeless forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Now while I wasn't able to find a strict definition of "smoking," as defined by my state, I'd imagine it doesn't include things like chewing tobacco. I can't see any justification for that ban other than the board of regents, which governs all public schools in my state, wants to policy student and employee health. which is even a stated goal of the policy
Quote
The goal of the policy is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying our campuses.
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

EDIT: Sorry to get this thread off on a tangent...

I think it is easy to include smokeless tobacco in the ban because of the problem with people spitting tobacco "juice" on the ground. I think they could probably make a rule about chewing gum as well.
But is there actually a legal justification for including smokeless tobacco in this ban? That's my real beef with the policy. This is resolved if "smoking" includes smokeless tobacco, but I'm having trouble finding the legal definition of smoking at the moment.

I think you are missing some of the point.  It it the University's property and they can restrict almost any activity as long as it is not discriminatory based on race, religion, etc. 

zephyr911

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7009 on: February 24, 2015, 10:58:12 AM »
The foam just started rapidly multiplying in here....
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iowajes

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7010 on: February 24, 2015, 10:59:06 AM »
I think they could probably make a rule about chewing gum as well.

I've had jobs where I wasn't allowed to chew gum.  I don't think it is all that uncommon in entry level customer facing jobs.

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7011 on: February 24, 2015, 11:02:56 AM »
But again, I'm not a lawyer. My university recently instituted a policy stating that there can be no smoking anywhere on campus (which I think is utterly stupid - why should an employer be able to regulate legal employee activity that occurs outside of work?). I see this as policing employees health, and there have been no legal challenges so far to this policy. So maybe there isn't any legal issue.
It may be time outside of work, but the university still owns the campus, and they can set their rules for the campus.  You can still smoke--you just have to get off their lawn to do it :)
Don't get me wrong, I actually like the consequences of the policy - I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of secondhand smoke. But whether I like the policy or not has no bearing on whether it is or isn't legal.

I took the time to actually look up the law on smoking in my state...and it turns out you're right.
Quote
Any person, who owns, operates, manages, or controls an establishment, facility, or outdoor area can declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.  Smoking can also be prohibited in any place by placing a sign stating that smoking is prohibited in the area.
So prohibiting smoking in an outdoor area under your control is perfectly allowed.

However, IMO there are still problems with this policy - it even bans smokeless forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Now while I wasn't able to find a strict definition of "smoking," as defined by my state, I'd imagine it doesn't include things like chewing tobacco. I can't see any justification for that ban other than the board of regents, which governs all public schools in my state, wants to policy student and employee health. which is even a stated goal of the policy
Quote
The goal of the policy is to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of students, employees and any persons occupying our campuses.
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

EDIT: Sorry to get this thread off on a tangent...

I think it is easy to include smokeless tobacco in the ban because of the problem with people spitting tobacco "juice" on the ground. I think they could probably make a rule about chewing gum as well.
But is there actually a legal justification for including smokeless tobacco in this ban? That's my real beef with the policy. This is resolved if "smoking" includes smokeless tobacco, but I'm having trouble finding the legal definition of smoking at the moment.

I think you are missing some of the point.  It it the University's property and they can restrict almost any activity as long as it is not discriminatory based on race, religion, etc.
I suppose. I'm still not entirely convinced, but I'll let it go.

Travis

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7012 on: February 24, 2015, 11:23:34 AM »
Not a really crazy money amount, but two co-workers just gave up their soda habits for Lent.  One was drinking 12 diet Cokes a day, the other was drinking 12 Mountain Dews (holy shit diabeetus).

The thought of waking up and drinking either of those in the morning really grosses me out.  Thought of this because of bigalsmith101's story about the guy drinking 40 oz of soda at 7 am.

How long is Lent?  Sounds like they might mysteriously find themselves a few pounds lighter at the end of it.
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iowajes

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7013 on: February 24, 2015, 11:39:40 AM »


How long is Lent?  Sounds like they might mysteriously find themselves a few pounds lighter at the end of it.

Lent is 40 days. From Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday/Good Friday/Easter (depending on who you ask), does not include Sundays (but some people do).
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 11:44:42 AM by iowajes »

bigalsmith101

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7014 on: February 24, 2015, 12:42:09 PM »
To all of the replies regarding the contractor that I manage:

#1. He's self employed. He's not an employee. I just supervise our contractors remotely. They are totally self contained.

#2. If he wants to be grossly unhealthy. So be it. I can't do anything about it.

#3. If he keels over, has a health issue, can't handle his workload; yes I'll have to replace him. But until then, he does the work satisfactorily

#4. The fact is that if he can do the job, and do it well, and satisfy our contract. I don't care what he does, as long as it's professional.
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Posthumane

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7015 on: February 24, 2015, 02:22:10 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.

Anyway, on a more on topic note, there was a coffee room discussion where the topic of taxation came up. One of my coworkers who is an avid investor advocated a wealth tax for people with significant assets (> 1M). One of his comments that struck me though was "A wealth tax wouldn't really affect average people. If you're only making $100k/year you're basically spending everything and not accumulating."

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7016 on: February 24, 2015, 02:47:25 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

auntie_betty

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7017 on: February 24, 2015, 03:15:25 PM »
Co-worker appears with breakfast from local shop and biscuits for team. Around 8.

Co-worker appears at lunchtime with lunch, around 5, and shopping bag.
Me: What have you bought?
CW: Just a top & sweater. (This is an expensive shop, will have set him back at least 100).
Me: Oh, special occasion?
CW: Sort of. We get paid in Thursday and I had money left in my account.

Later:
CW to me: I don't know how you can be retiring so early. I think I'll be at least 70 before I can afford it.

Later again:
CW: Sh*t. Just remembered I have 150 coming out of my account tomorrow.
Me: Oops.

Winston

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7018 on: February 24, 2015, 03:30:48 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

They could do what my employer does -- give significant premium breaks to those folks that get an annual physical and bloodwork. It doesn't guarantee healthy behavior, but it helps people catch problems early.

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7019 on: February 24, 2015, 03:54:14 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

They could do what my employer does -- give significant premium breaks to those folks that get an annual physical and bloodwork. It doesn't guarantee healthy behavior, but it helps people catch problems early.
Oh I don't really have a problem with positive incentives to people taking steps towards better health. Because those positive incentives generally speaking are voluntary. But taking punitive measures against employees who do not take measures toward better health is a mistake in my book.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7020 on: February 24, 2015, 03:57:17 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

I don't think fat is a protected class quite yet.  Give it a few more years.  I guess that means we'll have to get used to using phrases like "skinny privilege".

Employers have vast control over what happens on their property.  Theoretically they could ban certain foods or drinks for being brought on to the property.  If there's an impact on the working ability of the employee they have even more control.  Try showing up to operate heavy machinery with a buzz from the night before.  You can't exceed certain BMI thresholds for many jobs. 

Also, obesity leads to many complications and an increased number of sick days used.  I can see an employer wanting to limit that when possible.  If that means forcing employees to be healthier and firing them if they don't comply I don't see the problem.  Obviously true medical conditions would require some sort of exception to be granted. 

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7021 on: February 24, 2015, 04:02:32 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

I don't think fat is a protected class quite yet.  Give it a few more years.  I guess that means we'll have to get used to using phrases like "skinny privilege".

Employers have vast control over what happens on their property.  Theoretically they could ban certain foods or drinks for being brought on to the property.  If there's an impact on the working ability of the employee they have even more control.  Try showing up to operate heavy machinery with a buzz from the night before.  You can't exceed certain BMI thresholds for many jobs. 

Also, obesity leads to many complications and an increased number of sick days used.  I can see an employer wanting to limit that when possible.  If that means forcing employees to be healthier and firing them if they don't comply I don't see the problem.  Obviously true medical conditions would require some sort of exception to be granted.

I don't know that policing someone's health is always overt.  I know (for example) an employer who does not promote people who smoke to upper management positions.  The Big Boss doesn't like smoking, and it weighs significantly in those decisions.  I'm sure that this is more common than people realize-- that their personal habits (healthy or otherwise) influence their ability to succeed professionally.  I'm sure this can work the other way as well-- a meat-eating 'big boss' might look askance at a vegan underling, for example. 


forward

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7022 on: February 24, 2015, 04:03:25 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

They could do what my employer does -- give significant premium breaks to those folks that get an annual physical and bloodwork. It doesn't guarantee healthy behavior, but it helps people catch problems early.

This and some employers that self insure are categorizing employees into multiple groups.  The employees that don't meet the health benchmarks assigned to them get put in the another higher premium class the next year etc.  Makes you wonder if eventually it might be difficult for some to keep a job.

Or - more on topic for the thread - if employee A overheard employee B and C talking about how blitzed they were all weekend - does this become a health risk the company could act on?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 04:13:37 PM by forward »

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7023 on: February 24, 2015, 04:22:18 PM »
Employers generally have an interest in maintaining their employees well being. This ranges from providing ongoing education, financial services, health/dental plans, and I don't see any reason it couldn't include fitness. As mentioned, some organizations are already doing it on a voluntary basis - incentives, discounts on fitness related activities, lower premiums, etc. Some organization, such as the military and some companies in other countries, do it on a mandatory basis - scheduled fitness sessions for all employees. I don't see it being that much different than mandated health & safety training such as first aid. If a company can specify educational requirements without relating that to the actual work done (i.e. must have a bachelor's degree to work this basic clerical position) why can they not also specify a fitness requirement even if it isn't a bona fide operational requirement?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7024 on: February 24, 2015, 04:22:33 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?

I don't think fat is a protected class quite yet.  Give it a few more years.  I guess that means we'll have to get used to using phrases like "skinny privilege".

Employers have vast control over what happens on their property.  Theoretically they could ban certain foods or drinks for being brought on to the property.  If there's an impact on the working ability of the employee they have even more control.  Try showing up to operate heavy machinery with a buzz from the night before.  You can't exceed certain BMI thresholds for many jobs. 

Also, obesity leads to many complications and an increased number of sick days used.  I can see an employer wanting to limit that when possible.  If that means forcing employees to be healthier and firing them if they don't comply I don't see the problem.  Obviously true medical conditions would require some sort of exception to be granted.

That's an interesting question actually. At least in the US, employers generally have the right to fire you for any or no reason (assuming you're not covered by a contract). Then the law carves out certain exceptions to this, for example outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, sex, etc. It's also illegal to fire or otherwise retaliate against someone for using the company health plan (assuming the plan is covered by ERISA). So while I would say that it's legal for your employer to fire you for being fat, it might be a little dicey for them to fire you for costing them too much via health-plan expenditures.

ETA: Unless your obesity is caused by or somehow considered to be a disability, then it might not be legal for you to be fired for being fat.

johnny847

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7025 on: February 24, 2015, 04:40:42 PM »
Employers generally have an interest in maintaining their employees well being. This ranges from providing ongoing education, financial services, health/dental plans, and I don't see any reason it couldn't include fitness. As mentioned, some organizations are already doing it on a voluntary basis - incentives, discounts on fitness related activities, lower premiums, etc. Some organization, such as the military and some companies in other countries, do it on a mandatory basis - scheduled fitness sessions for all employees. I don't see it being that much different than mandated health & safety training such as first aid. If a company can specify educational requirements without relating that to the actual work done (i.e. must have a bachelor's degree to work this basic clerical position) why can they not also specify a fitness requirement even if it isn't a bona fide operational requirement?
I have no issue with mandatory fitness requirements if it is an operational requirement - such as in the military.
Ignoring the legalities and just looking at ethics for a second, why should an employer be able to mandate health among their employees when it has no bearing on fulfilling their duties as an employee?
Requiring a bachelor's degree to work in a basic clerical position - while certainly this seems like overkill, this is an "over qualification" requirement that the employer has decided to instate, for some reason. This isn't a you must be healthy requirement, which is completely unrelated to job performance.

Take this example though:
I don't know that policing someone's health is always overt.  I know (for example) an employer who does not promote people who smoke to upper management positions.  The Big Boss doesn't like smoking, and it weighs significantly in those decisions.  I'm sure that this is more common than people realize-- that their personal habits (healthy or otherwise) influence their ability to succeed professionally.  I'm sure this can work the other way as well-- a meat-eating 'big boss' might look askance at a vegan underling, for example. 

Does this seem fair to you?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7026 on: February 24, 2015, 04:44:46 PM »
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

You say that as if it's a bad thing.  Yes, some people do have genuine issues, such as I know three women who are on synthetic thyroid medicine and one of the side effects is indeed weight gain.  However for the bulk of people who are overweight, it's simply by some measure of diet and exercise being out of balance.  It's honestly in the best interest of the employee that they be healthy anyway, plus in the best interests of society, since really all of us pay the cost of people getting sick with obesity related illnesses in one way or another.
Oh don't get me wrong - I am in no way saying that its not in the best interest of the employees and society as a whole.
But I don't think it's right to give employers the ability to punish their employees for not engaging in activities that have nothing to do with their work. It is a free country, after all.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7027 on: February 24, 2015, 04:47:55 PM »
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

You say that as if it's a bad thing.  Yes, some people do have genuine issues, such as I know three women who are on synthetic thyroid medicine and one of the side effects is indeed weight gain.  However for the bulk of people who are overweight, it's simply by some measure of diet and exercise being out of balance.  It's honestly in the best interest of the employee that they be healthy anyway, plus in the best interests of society, since really all of us pay the cost of people getting sick with obesity related illnesses in one way or another.
Oh don't get me wrong - I am in no way saying that its not in the best interest of the employees and society as a whole.
But I don't think it's right to give employers the ability to punish their employees for not engaging in activities that have nothing to do with their work. It is a free country, after all.
Aren't employers already free to do so as long as it's not one of the few protected classes? It's just that most choose not to do so.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7028 on: February 24, 2015, 04:49:13 PM »
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

You say that as if it's a bad thing.  Yes, some people do have genuine issues, such as I know three women who are on synthetic thyroid medicine and one of the side effects is indeed weight gain.  However for the bulk of people who are overweight, it's simply by some measure of diet and exercise being out of balance.  It's honestly in the best interest of the employee that they be healthy anyway, plus in the best interests of society, since really all of us pay the cost of people getting sick with obesity related illnesses in one way or another.
Oh don't get me wrong - I am in no way saying that its not in the best interest of the employees and society as a whole.
But I don't think it's right to give employers the ability to punish their employees for not engaging in activities that have nothing to do with their work. It is a free country, after all.
Aren't employers already free to do so as long as it's not one of the few protected classes? It's just that most choose not to do so.
I'm not arguing about legalities. I'm talking about ethics.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7029 on: February 24, 2015, 05:21:02 PM »
It's a free country - if you find someone's habits disgusting, you don't have to employ them. With very few protected exceptions. And vice versa, with no protected exceptions - you don't have to work for anyone you don't like.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7030 on: February 24, 2015, 05:22:43 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?


Contributing to foam: police and firefighters have to pass regular physicals to keep their jobs.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7031 on: February 24, 2015, 05:44:23 PM »
It's a free country - if you find someone's habits disgusting, you don't have to employ them. With very few protected exceptions. And vice versa, with no protected exceptions - you don't have to work for anyone you don't like.
Ok. Suppose you smoke, and I'm a hiring manager. It's ok not for me to hire you solely because you smoke? (Also suppose in this situation that being healthy has nothing to do with the company brand or image - ie, this company is not, say, Whole Foods.)
Or suppose you're an employee in my company and I had no reservations about hiring you as an employee despite the fact that you smoke. But I pass over you for a promotion solely because you smoke.
Does that seem fair?

If it does, then I suppose we have nothing more to talk about.

Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?


Contributing to foam: police and firefighters have to pass regular physicals to keep their jobs.

I said earlier, but after that comment:
I have no issue with mandatory fitness requirements if it is an operational requirement - such as in the military.
Clearly being physically fit is required by their job description. I'm talking about employers policing or discriminating against employee health when it has no bearing on their job performance.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7032 on: February 24, 2015, 06:40:13 PM »
Johnny847, you're right that it's the ethics, aka fear of reprisal from the public if word gets out, that prevent employers from being jerks about other people's bad habits. So the question is when will penalizing smokers, fat people, loud chewers, or whatever subset of the general, non-protected portion of the workforce, become socially acceptable.

I think it will never gain traction, regardless of right or wrong, because there are too many unhealthy people out there.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7033 on: February 24, 2015, 07:42:32 PM »
If someone chooses to overeat, get fat, and have lots of health problems because of it, it's their privilege.

Just like it should be my privilege not to have to pay higher taxes or insurance premiums to subsidize their healthcare.

I'm all for public financing of healthcare - except for what I refer to as "diseases of choice".  If someone chooses to get or stay sick, they should pay for those healthcare costs themselves.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7034 on: February 24, 2015, 07:59:50 PM »
I'm all for public financing of healthcare - except for what I refer to as "diseases of choice".  If someone chooses to get or stay sick, they should pay for those healthcare costs themselves.

Not saying I disagree, but that's a slippery slope.  Where does it end?  Should parents have to pay their own costs of birth?  How about first 2 kids are covered but after that they're on their own because of population concerns?  On the flip side, what about women that choose not to have kids and are at higher risk of some types of cancer?  If they develop cancer later in life is that their problem because they made that risky choice?  Smokers don't get coverage for lung cancer costs?  What about coal miners because they chose the job?  Or do we just draw the line on diet and exercise related problems?  What about children who are overweight and diabetic because of their parents?  Covered until they turn 18 then turn off the tap?

It sounds good in theory, but everyone is going to draw that line somewhere different, and no matter where you draw it someone that legitimately needs help is going to get caught on the wrong side.

Getting pretty off topic, but it's a good thought experiment and I always like to hear opinions on things like this because I'm not quite sure where I stand either.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7035 on: February 24, 2015, 08:00:01 PM »
Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?


Contributing to foam: police and firefighters have to pass regular physicals to keep their jobs.

Add to that all military personnel and lifeguards.  Athletes are required to meet performance expectations which in part require fitness, and models can be required to adhere to certain weight limits even beyond what is medically necessary to be labeled "healthy" in order to maintain employment (the whole lawsuit of a particular restaurant that hired "models" instead of waitresses so they could mandate they stay below a certain weight and fire them if they became too fat).

However as others noted most employers don't regulate your negative unhealthy choices.  They more regulate how your unhealthy choices impact your fellow employees or the firm in a negative way (i.e. secondhand smoke, cigarette butts and tobacco spit on office property, etc.).

But yes, depending on the region you can be required to exercise by your employer -- Japan comes to mind where companies require employees to take mid-day group exercise breaks.

Argyle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7036 on: February 24, 2015, 08:02:04 PM »
In "Right to Work" states you can be fired for nearly anything at all, including the fact that the manager is having a grumpy day or that the manager's nephew needs the job.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7037 on: February 24, 2015, 08:05:47 PM »
In "Right to Work" states you can be fired for nearly anything at all, including the fact that the manager is having a grumpy day or that the manager's nephew needs the job.
Again, I'm not debating the legalities. I'm debating the ethics.

Can someone point me to a legal basis for not being able to police an employee's health? I'm curious if such laws exist, though I imagine it's one of those things that varies from place to place. I'm not sure what the laws are in Canada. I do know that one of my employers does very closely police my health (military) and I consider it a good thing. This includes periodic medical checks at their expense, as well as allocated exercise periods during work days.
So we're back to this again eh? I don't actually know of any, but it just seems wrong to me. What are employers going to do, mandate all fat people exercise? Mandate all employees eat a proper diet?


Contributing to foam: police and firefighters have to pass regular physicals to keep their jobs.

Add to that all military personnel and lifeguards.  Athletes are required to meet performance expectations which in part require fitness, and models can be required to adhere to certain weight limits even beyond what is medically necessary to be labeled "healthy" in order to maintain employment (the whole lawsuit of a particular restaurant that hired "models" instead of waitresses so they could mandate they stay below a certain weight and fire them if they became too fat).

However as others noted most employers don't regulate your negative unhealthy choices.  They more regulate how your unhealthy choices impact your fellow employees or the firm in a negative way (i.e. secondhand smoke, cigarette butts and tobacco spit on office property, etc.).

But yes, depending on the region you can be required to exercise by your employer -- Japan comes to mind where companies require employees to take mid-day group exercise breaks.

I said earlier, but after that comment,
Quote from: johnny847
    I have no issue with mandatory fitness requirements if it is an operational requirement - such as in the military.

Clearly being physically fit is required by their job description. I'm talking about employers policing or discriminating against employee health when it has no bearing on their job performance.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7038 on: February 24, 2015, 09:17:11 PM »
In "Right to Work" states you can be fired for nearly anything at all, including the fact that the manager is having a grumpy day or that the manager's nephew needs the job.

Just a small correction: Right to Work isn't related to termination practices. You're thinking of "at will" employment. Right to Work means you can't be forced to pay union membership dues just because you work somewhere that has a union presence.
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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7039 on: February 24, 2015, 09:28:17 PM »
I'm all for public financing of healthcare - except for what I refer to as "diseases of choice".  If someone chooses to get or stay sick, they should pay for those healthcare costs themselves.

Not saying I disagree, but that's a slippery slope.  Where does it end?  Should parents have to pay their own costs of birth?  How about first 2 kids are covered but after that they're on their own because of population concerns?  On the flip side, what about women that choose not to have kids and are at higher risk of some types of cancer?  If they develop cancer later in life is that their problem because they made that risky choice?  Smokers don't get coverage for lung cancer costs?  What about coal miners because they chose the job?  Or do we just draw the line on diet and exercise related problems?  What about children who are overweight and diabetic because of their parents?  Covered until they turn 18 then turn off the tap?

It sounds good in theory, but everyone is going to draw that line somewhere different, and no matter where you draw it someone that legitimately needs help is going to get caught on the wrong side.

Getting pretty off topic, but it's a good thought experiment and I always like to hear opinions on things like this because I'm not quite sure where I stand either.
A very fair and reasonable objection.   Anything we do with public money means someone gets an advantage and someone else gets taken advantage of.   There's no way to avoid that, so we just have to try to be fair and reasonable about it.

FYI - pregnancy is not a disease and it has definite benefits (in moderation) for society.   If someone wants to give birth to a child they cannot afford to raise we should pay for the pregnancy (it's not the child's fault!) and fine the parents for being a pain in the butt to the rest of us.  Then let someone who can afford to raise the child do so.  And yes, I'm a hard-ass when it comes to personal responsibility.


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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7040 on: February 24, 2015, 09:28:25 PM »
It's a free country - if you find someone's habits disgusting, you don't have to employ them. With very few protected exceptions. And vice versa, with no protected exceptions - you don't have to work for anyone you don't like.
Ok. Suppose you smoke, and I'm a hiring manager. It's ok not for me to hire you solely because you smoke? (Also suppose in this situation that being healthy has nothing to do with the company brand or image - ie, this company is not, say, Whole Foods.)
Or suppose you're an employee in my company and I had no reservations about hiring you as an employee despite the fact that you smoke. But I pass over you for a promotion solely because you smoke.
Does that seem fair?



Whether or not it's fair, it happens.  I have personally witnessed an upper manager warning a new employee not to smoke in front of the company owner if he had any hopes of rising in the organization.  It was during a week-long conference, and the owner is famous for mentoring managers he likes.  I thought it was pretty stand-up of the upper manager to give the warning.

LennStar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7041 on: February 25, 2015, 01:53:29 AM »
If someone wants to give birth to a child they cannot afford to raise we should pay for the pregnancy (it's not the child's fault!) and fine the parents for being a pain in the butt to the rest of us.  Then let someone who can afford to raise the child do so.  And yes, I'm a hard-ass when it comes to personal responsibility.
And how many millions of $ does each parent has to have before they "can afford" to raise a child? Per child or with discounts for 2nd, 3rd etc.?
What about rape childs?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7042 on: February 25, 2015, 04:39:19 AM »
A fellow co worker of mine who is a single parent at the age of 21 with a deadbeat father is taking trip to Peru this summer.  Never mind the fact that she  has a car loan, 10k+ cc debt, and a  3 month child to take care of.  Lets solve all these issues by taking a trip to Peru on credit!!!! To make it even sweeter most of my co-workers knowing her financial status as well are encouraging her to take the trip and think it is a splendid idea. 

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7043 on: February 25, 2015, 06:09:38 AM »
If employers are allowed to start policing employees health, then this is going to get out of hand really fast. What are employers going to do, mandate fat people exercise?

You say that as if it's a bad thing.  Yes, some people do have genuine issues, such as I know three women who are on synthetic thyroid medicine and one of the side effects is indeed weight gain.  However for the bulk of people who are overweight, it's simply by some measure of diet and exercise being out of balance.  It's honestly in the best interest of the employee that they be healthy anyway, plus in the best interests of society, since really all of us pay the cost of people getting sick with obesity related illnesses in one way or another.
Oh don't get me wrong - I am in no way saying that its not in the best interest of the employees and society as a whole.
But I don't think it's right to give employers the ability to punish their employees for not engaging in activities that have nothing to do with their work. It is a free country, after all.

You're mixing up freedoms and privileges. Nobody has a "right" to a job, a job is a privilege provided by another voluntarily.

grantmeaname

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7044 on: February 25, 2015, 06:10:31 AM »
If someone wants to give birth to a child they cannot afford to raise we should [...] fine the parents
If someone has no money you want to take away their money?

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7045 on: February 25, 2015, 06:25:23 AM »
I'm all for public financing of healthcare - except for what I refer to as "diseases of choice".  If someone chooses to get or stay sick, they should pay for those healthcare costs themselves.

Not saying I disagree, but that's a slippery slope.  Where does it end?  Should parents have to pay their own costs of birth?  How about first 2 kids are covered but after that they're on their own because of population concerns?  On the flip side, what about women that choose not to have kids and are at higher risk of some types of cancer?  If they develop cancer later in life is that their problem because they made that risky choice?  Smokers don't get coverage for lung cancer costs?  What about coal miners because they chose the job?  Or do we just draw the line on diet and exercise related problems?  What about children who are overweight and diabetic because of their parents?  Covered until they turn 18 then turn off the tap?

It sounds good in theory, but everyone is going to draw that line somewhere different, and no matter where you draw it someone that legitimately needs help is going to get caught on the wrong side.

Getting pretty off topic, but it's a good thought experiment and I always like to hear opinions on things like this because I'm not quite sure where I stand either.
A very fair and reasonable objection.   Anything we do with public money means someone gets an advantage and someone else gets taken advantage of.   There's no way to avoid that, so we just have to try to be fair and reasonable about it.

FYI - pregnancy is not a disease and it has definite benefits (in moderation) for society.   If someone wants to give birth to a child they cannot afford to raise we should pay for the pregnancy (it's not the child's fault!) and fine the parents for being a pain in the butt to the rest of us.  Then let someone who can afford to raise the child do so.  And yes, I'm a hard-ass when it comes to personal responsibility.

Depending on what studies you've read cancer is a disease of CHOICE of diet.  And can be mitigated by eating properly.  Very few diseases out there are not diseases of choice.  diabetes is a CHOICE b/c of diet.  Aids is a CHOICE of having unprotected relations.  Many birth defects can be linked back to CHOICES of a birth mother.  Depression (if you want to call it a disease) can be linked to CHOICES you made in your life that have made you get this feeling of nothingness.  Then all the obvious ones. We don't treat fatties b/c they made a CHOICE to eat that way, we don't treat smokers B/C they made a CHOICE to smoke.  We dont treat drug addicts b/c they made a CHOICE to do drugs. 

I mean where do you draw the line b/c you can link 95% of human diseases to a choice in some way or another. 

So I ask you then what would we be covering under your system? 
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Timmmy

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7046 on: February 25, 2015, 07:04:16 AM »
I'm all for public financing of healthcare - except for what I refer to as "diseases of choice".  If someone chooses to get or stay sick, they should pay for those healthcare costs themselves.

Not saying I disagree, but that's a slippery slope.  Where does it end?  Should parents have to pay their own costs of birth?  How about first 2 kids are covered but after that they're on their own because of population concerns?  On the flip side, what about women that choose not to have kids and are at higher risk of some types of cancer?  If they develop cancer later in life is that their problem because they made that risky choice?  Smokers don't get coverage for lung cancer costs?  What about coal miners because they chose the job?  Or do we just draw the line on diet and exercise related problems?  What about children who are overweight and diabetic because of their parents?  Covered until they turn 18 then turn off the tap?

It sounds good in theory, but everyone is going to draw that line somewhere different, and no matter where you draw it someone that legitimately needs help is going to get caught on the wrong side.

Getting pretty off topic, but it's a good thought experiment and I always like to hear opinions on things like this because I'm not quite sure where I stand either.
A very fair and reasonable objection.   Anything we do with public money means someone gets an advantage and someone else gets taken advantage of.   There's no way to avoid that, so we just have to try to be fair and reasonable about it.

FYI - pregnancy is not a disease and it has definite benefits (in moderation) for society.   If someone wants to give birth to a child they cannot afford to raise we should pay for the pregnancy (it's not the child's fault!) and fine the parents for being a pain in the butt to the rest of us.  Then let someone who can afford to raise the child do so.  And yes, I'm a hard-ass when it comes to personal responsibility.

Depending on what studies you've read cancer is a disease of CHOICE of diet.  And can be mitigated by eating properly.  Very few diseases out there are not diseases of choice.  diabetes is a CHOICE b/c of diet.  Aids is a CHOICE of having unprotected relations.  Many birth defects can be linked back to CHOICES of a birth mother.  Depression (if you want to call it a disease) can be linked to CHOICES you made in your life that have made you get this feeling of nothingness.  Then all the obvious ones. We don't treat fatties b/c they made a CHOICE to eat that way, we don't treat smokers B/C they made a CHOICE to smoke.  We dont treat drug addicts b/c they made a CHOICE to do drugs. 

I mean where do you draw the line b/c you can link 95% of human diseases to a choice in some way or another. 

So I ask you then what would we be covering under your system?
I know 2 people that have died of lung cancer having never smoked anything in their life and having no other risk factors.  That was not their choice.

Type 1 diabetes is not a choice

Being born HIV positive is not a choice

Your mother making bad decisions while pregnant is not your choice

Depression is not a choice

boarder42

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7047 on: February 25, 2015, 07:18:31 AM »
i left room for 5%... proving depression is not a choice may be hard.  Cancer is preventable by diet.  Just check out the thread of the guy on here who was told his brain cancer was inoperable.  He has decreased the size solely by changing his diet ... there is a lot of research that has gone into the studies behind diet and cancer... and whether you want to believe them or not there are many cases out there like his that prove the way you eat can cause and/or reverse the effects of cancer. 

but thats my point.. prove whats a choice and what isnt.  where are you drawing the line and what gives you the right to draw it there.
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mtn

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7048 on: February 25, 2015, 08:10:52 AM »

 proving depression is not a choice may be hard. 



No, it isn't. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes caused by a traumatic event, sometimes just there. Go ask a rape victim suffering from PTSD about depression being a choice.

GuitarStv

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #7049 on: February 25, 2015, 08:17:56 AM »

 proving depression is not a choice may be hard. 



No, it isn't. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes caused by a traumatic event, sometimes just there. Go ask a rape victim suffering from PTSD about depression being a choice.

To play devil's advocate for a second here . . .

Literally every decision you make in life is due to brain chemistry.  It could be quite effectively argued that pedophiles like little children because of brain chemistry and murderers kill because of brain chemistry.  There are chemical peculiarities in the brains of both.  Our legal system is based on the preconception of free will, but from a biological standpoint there's little evidence that free will actually exists.