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Old 11-30-2006, 10:59 AM   #1
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Great Scott! Fired for smoking on his own time..

A Buzzards Bay man peed into a cup and lost his job when the Scott Co. discovered he’d been inhaling more than the chemicals he sprayed on lawns - he was allegedly smoking cigarettes - according to a lawsuit he filed.

They’re irrefutably doing things that harm themselves
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:09 PM   #2
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Being an employer and having just gone through re-evaluating and getting health insurance on our employees I have a current and different perspective on this situation.

On our universal health care application forms, they wanted to know if a person smoked and how much they smoked (at work or not). They were so nitpicky on things they even demanded the past 7 glucose test readings on an employee who has diet controled diabetes. Also, we have an employee who is trying to get disability because he had a heart attack besides his other ailments. They quoted us both ways, with him included or without and you would fall over to know the difference. Him being included raised the rates on employees in different classifications even. As it was, it is running us $80,000/year for 12 emloyees. Blue Cross/Blue Shield wanted just under $100,000 for the same group. Because we had to include the employee with the heart attack (who is still off on medical leave, but still on the employee rolls) our insurance ran us $10,800 more for everybody else!

Our insurance is a Point Of Service Plan with 100%/$10/$0 (100 percent paid for in-network care, $10 co-pay for Dr. visit and $0 deductible -- and the prescription plan is 3 tier $10/$30/$50. We do not make our employees contribute a single dime to the plan.

From the viewpoint of an employer, I can see how much money it would have saved me if my employees did not smoke or were in good health. Their lifestyle choices end up costing me hard currency out of my pocket. I was told that if our employees were able to take a pass their insurance physical (which includes drug, alcohol and tobacco testing, we would qualify for bottom tier rates. Needless to say -- we don't!!!
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:13 PM   #3
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Suppose your employee said the heck with the coverage, I'll handle that on my own, just let me keep my job?
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:21 PM   #4
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This kind of brings up an interesting question that I never really knew the answer to.

Does smoking cigars count as "smoking"? When my doctor asks me if I smoke, I always say "no". Becuase I assume that means smoking cigarettes (i.e. inhaling). I figure that since I smoke on average one cigar a week (50 a year), and NEVER inhale, I don't consider myself a "smoker".

Thoughts?
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:23 PM   #5
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It is considered smoking, tobacco use, and if you say no on an insurance application, and they find out you smoke one cigar a week, appropriate and punitive measures will be taken. It's the American way. I'm just reporting here.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:24 PM   #6
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I always say no aside from the occasional Cigar. I don't know if it really matters, but I do it anyway...
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:27 PM   #7
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Hmm...wonder if cigar smoking would show up on a test. I assume inhaling tobacco products is the pathway into the bloodstream via the lungs. But I'd be amazed if cigar smoking would show up in a test.

Think I'll google it...
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:27 PM   #8
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Bored, I'll bet they've got you classified as a "light tobacco user."
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by double D
Hmm...wonder if cigar smoking would show up on a test. I assume inhaling tobacco products is the pathway into the bloodstream via the lungs. But I'd be amazed if cigar smoking would show up in a test.

Think I'll google it...
I think it takes three weeks to get out of your system
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bloofington
Bored, I'll bet they've got you classified as a "light tobacco user."
I wonder if that influences my healthcare costs???
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:03 PM   #11
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If they do, then yes it does.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:07 PM   #12
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My insurance company did not consider cigars as tobacco use. they have realised that the health risk with cigars is not anywhere near as great as cigarettes.

Very enlightened I would say.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:11 PM   #13
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Bloofie ---

In our case, we can't legally terminate the employee (who has worked here 30+ years) or terminate his health care coverage while he is off on medical leave. Nothing like a good lawsuit to make an employee set for life with or without SSI Disability!


The litigious society we live in today makes it really tough to run a business. We cannot even let alcohol be served at our company Holiday Party because if someone wrecks on their way home from the party and injures someone, we would be liable because it is a company sponsored event! We have to keep DOT Breathalizer tubes on hand because with a CDL, our drivers cannot be over .04 in blood alcohol instead of .08 for regular vehicle drivers.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:13 PM   #14
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I found a home testing kit online for $4 US. Think I might get one just for the heck of it. It says the detection period is 2-4 days.

Nicotine is a very unstable drug. When a person uses tobacco, the body immediately breaks nicotine down into about 97 different metabolites, the most stable of which is cotinine. With a cotinine urinary drug test from *** ®, you can reliably determine if a person is using tobacco. Cotinine stays in a person's system for a period of 2 to 4 days.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:46 PM   #15
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Mike, I'm very sensitive to your management position for more than one reason, partially because I was in what today might be called a middle management position at age 23, supervising five people in the country's largest savings bank. I was just curious as to whether or not anyone in ownership/management of any business would consider an employee's request to be let out of the health insurance loop if it would help them keep their job.

Bikeman, that's extremely enlightened and usually unheard of in the insurance industry. Consider yourself fortunate.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:58 PM   #16
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Bloof --

Bloof --

The problem lies with the insurance companies. The only way we can get around covering an employee with insurance is 1) if they do not work full time hours or 2) if they sign a waiver and have a vaild reason such as being covered under a spouse's policy or VA or Medicare. Otherwise it would be descrimination to not cover them.
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:02 PM   #17
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So then, the option to sign a waiver exists? In that case, and it's purely a personal choice on my part, I'd certainly be willing to go to that length.
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:47 PM   #18
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on that show that somebody here brought up, they said that you get nicotine in your system from cigars, actually all tobacco has nicotine. I did not know this. so if you tell your incs. co. you don't smoke, and they run a blood test, there gonna find nicotine.

That show was the history Chanel show on tobacco, ran about a month ago, featured the Fuentes.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:35 PM   #19
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Bloof ---

The waiver cannot be signed just for the fun of it, you have to list a valid reason for signing the waiver. Not simply to "keep my job" or "not be fired" ---

In the case listed in that article, the employee was discharged for breaking employee policy. I would bet my life that there is/was something spelled out in their employee manual about tobacco usage and the employers right to do random testing for drugs and nicotine.

A little different, but in the military, they can write you up and penalize a miltary member for laying out in the sun and getting a bad sunburn. One of my employee's showed me the paperwork from when he was in the Army. He got reprimanded and docked for "damaging military property" for getting so bad a sunburn on the beach near Seattle that he had to miss work at the base loading dock.
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Old 11-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #20
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btw...i just have to point out how great it is that this post's title starts off with "great scott"
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