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Boss Knows Best?

Boss Knows Best?

You’ve scored a new job and now it’s time to pluck the perks from the paperwork.  Many employers offer discounted gym memberships and social programs to give the workplace that touchy-feely “we’re here for you” vibe. 

Debaters over at BusinessWeek are all in a tizzy though, with some claiming this push towards healthy employees toes that thin line between telling you what’s best and forcing you to comply with their standards.  The Scotts Company (of Miracle-Gro fame) refuses to hire smokers and has new employees fill out an exhaustive health questionnaire.

Back in the early 1900s, the Ford Company had inspectors drop in unannounced to the homes of their employees to scope out signs of drinking, gambling, or unhealthy eating habits.  In 1920 they stopped their little visits (and the men, presumably, kept up their habits). 

On the other hand, workplace wellness programs might actually cut down medical care costs for both employers and employees.  It could be a “we’ll scratch your back if you scratch ours by dropping the smokes and eating some greens” sort of deal. 

Where do you stand on the issue: the treadmill in your employer's gym or the line in your local McDonalds?  Should employers stick their noses back in the boardrooms or do you like someone looking out for your ol' ticker? [BusinessWeek]

Posted: 9/22/08

When it bothers me is when it's more of an underlying jab from a boss or co-worker: "You know coffee causes cancer, right?"

It is a very fine line. It's great to offer employees quality healthcare and services...but no one can make anyone be healthier. It's a lifestyle choice, and what people do on their time is their business.

  • By Kiki76
  • on 9/23/08 10:54 AM EST

Rent a copy of the movie "Gattaca"... That's where we're all headed...


I love that my job is so supportive of my health--they offer wellness programs, a discounted gym membership, family counseling resources and an excellent pregnancy package. Nothing is mandatory though; it's not like they don't hire smokers or send spys to our homes!