Monday, July 02, 2007

Intrusion Inc.?

An Indianapolis hospital group has decided that it's in the best interests of their employees to charge those that make certain conscious decisions on their lifestyles. Granted, this is not the government we're talking about here. But still, we are talking about an entity that is using punishment for non-compliance to a collectively agreed on, uniform standard.

There is no argument against living a healthy lifestyle, at least not one I can think of. Yet, it concerns me greatly when freedom to choose it stripped away from the individual. Sure, the employees can go elsewhere and find work, if they choose. But, my argument is based on a company's right to regulate individual personal choices of those that for it. What if more and more companies choose to discriminate in the fashion? Will people run out of places to work?

Don't get me wrong here. Companies have the perfect right to insist that employees not smoke on their property. And that right should be respected. If they have a food service vendor on the premises, they have the right to insist that healthy fare be served. But to tell a worker what he/she can or cannot do, on their own time, is intrusive interference with that person's constitutional right to make their own decisions concerning their own lives (even if they choose stupid decisions).

I would like to see the ACLU take a look at this, but I realize that they have more important things on their agenda right now, like trying to find ways to strip the government's ability to efficiently fight terrorism.

1 comment:

Greg said...

As you say, LAS, the ACLU has its hands full making sure the police don't check anyone's bags at the airport or on the subway. But the constitution's protections don't extend to private relationships anyway, so it's not really up their alley, strictly speaking.

Still, it's a very interesting development. I wouldn't say what Clarian is doing is shocking, but the next step creates real problems. That is, will they start doing health checks as a condition of employment, and start refusing to hire people who are fat, smokers, diabetics? Will they take blood and perform genetic tests to find predispositions to costly diseases that haven't even developed in the prospective employee? Will sick people be barred from work in the future? Very slippery slope.