Thursday, January 12, 2006

Controlling Behavior Through Paychecks

A sneaky trend aimed at controlling your behavior is growing. Wrapped in the good intentions of "preventative healthcare" and "cost control", more companies are demanding employees either behave as directed or face job loss. Compare that with what happens if an employee tries to correct health hazards created by the companies they work for.

The defense of these companies is "hey, go get another job if you don't like it here". Rather than address skyrocketing costs of health care, business just demands you change your behavior.

Weyco demanded last year changes regarding smoking habits - now they demand employees take certain medical tests or face firing.

The entire article is in the CSM. Here are some excerpts.

The approach makes sense for employers, says Lisa Horn, manager of healthcare at the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va., which advises personnel managers. "They're really trying to improve the health of their employees overall, and not just reduce costs for the employer, but also for employees," Ms. Horn says. "It certainly seems like their intentions are in the right place."
"The color of your eyes, the car you drive, and your weight may all sound like private matters. But in many states, employers can take those facts - and many more - into account when they decide whether to hire or fire you.

Some groups are protected on the federal level: Employers can't discriminate against workers based on age, gender, race, disability, national origin, or religion. But unless state law says differently, all other characteristics are fair game, including your political leanings and even what you wear outside of work.

These firings didn't violate the law thanks to "at-will employment," a legal concept in 49 states that allows bosses to fire workers for virtually any reason - or none at all. (Montana is the sole exception.)"

Now compare these ideas with what happens if a worker's health is damaged by the work they do. Laws limit culpability of companies that make hazardous material. Companies normally win suits brought by those who suffer from the problems left by pollution. If a school teacher complains of mold problems in a classroom, they are silenced. Whistleblower laws have to be written to protect an employee if they report problems within a workplace.

Seems the golden rule remains - he who has the gold makes the rules.

1 comment:

  1. Slavery and torcher are alive and well here in the Empire of George's America.