Employers are always looking for ways to cut health care costs … and smoking and overweight employees may seem like ripe targets for change.
The most famous example of aggressive employer cost-cutting occurred at Michigan-based medical Weyco, Inc., which told its smoking employees to quit or be fired.
Like Georgia, Michigan has no law that protects employees from such an employer edict. Some Weyco employees were fired. Those who stayed were fuming but not smoking.
While Georgia employers could do something similar, they may have to watch out for a backlash. The Weyco incident inspired many states to pass laws protecting employee rights to smoke while off-duty.
Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have passed “lifestyle discrimination” laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for legal practices they perform off-duty.