Workplace smoking policies: When employees lie

Whirlpool suspended 39 workers for lying on insurance paperwork about their smoking habits, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

The suspended employees all claimed they do not use tobacco products, but were caught in the act on the Evansville, Indiana, factory property smoking or chewing tobacco. Some accused workers may even lose their jobs because of the lies.

Whirlpool uses a financial incentive program to encourage workers and their families to not smoke. Workers at the Evansville factory who smoke are charged an extra $500 in annual health insurance premiums.

Whirlpool’s actions show one difficulty companies encounter when enforcing wellness programs based on the honor system.

"Employers have been using the honor system ever since wellness programs started, and you have to be a little naive to think that people are going to admit they smoke when they know they're going to be penalized."

Enforcing smoke-free workplace policies can be tough, especially if employees are untruthful about their smoking habits.

With rising healthcare costs and the dangers of second-hand smoke, some companies are completely snuffing out smoking on company property.

No Smokers in the Workplace: The New Controversy,” from G.Neil’s News & Info section, examines how some workers are fighting back against smoke-free policies with legal action. Some workers’ rights groups claim the policies violate one’s right of free expression.

State no-smoking laws can stir up confusion when determining if your company should enact a smoke-free policy. For help on how to sort through related legal issues, read the full article at

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