Employment is at will, for both the employer and employee. If a company has determined that their health insurance costs are excessive, I believe they should have the ability to reduce their costs. Dictating requirements in order to participate in the company health care program is totally acceptable and if the employee doesn't like it, they should be able to opt out of the health care program or find a new job.
If you are being given something of value by someone in return for your good work and effort you would naturally assume that they would check up on you to determine how well you are using this gift. The cost of health insurance is directly related to how healthy the employees at the company are, so checking up on their health and fitness habits is a natural and acceptable priority to try and minimize this cost for the company and other employees.
Businesses may have a potential liability when they pay part of a health insurance premium for their employees but they should not try to change their employees' lifestyles. I do however believe that the company should make information available about healthier lifestyles and offer support to anyone who shows interest in becoming more active or healthier.
"Meddling" as it is stated here, in the health of workers should be allowed to a certain extent. Drug testing is done to ensure a safe work environment. People who get drunk every day are likely to be prone to mistakes that could cost a company in dollars or in injuries. People who smoke raise the cost of health insurance for a company, the same is true of people who are obese. It's all about the bottom line of money and profit. If a person's excesses are costing the company, then they should look elsewhere for employment.
It's in the best interest of businesses to have happy, healthy employees. My office has a gym and regular "fitness competitions" that promote a healthy lifestyle. I don't think businesses should penalize their employees for health-related reasons, but I do think they should be allowed to do things to help people stay healthy.
It is a good idea for businesses to encourage health and fitness for their employees. After all, they usually foot much of the health insurance bill. They can offer incentives encouraging people to eat right,exercise,and lose weight, or stop smoking etc. But companies have no business making mandates for health, for example, telling an employee to lose 20 pounds or find another job.
A business can only function as well as its employees. With this in mind, a business should offer its staff as much opportunity to keep healthy and in shape. Sick time--whether paid or unpaid--can seriously cut into working hours for employees. Exercise rooms, regulated breaks and company-sponsored check-ups can help reach the goal of a fine-running business.
What a person does when they are not "on the job" is entirely their own business. Employers, I believe, do not have the right to meddle with, regulate, or even have knowledge of their employees' off-hours lives. This would include medical histories, habits, relationships, and any other aspect of an employee's life that they wish to keep private.
When companies start meddling into the health and fitness of employees, it violates the rights of citizens everywhere. Whether it is smoking habits or being overweight, there are so many health and fitness related problems that are not looked at and not related to lifestyle.
Although it can be beneficial to encourage employees to make better lifestyle choices by providing a healthy food selection and exercise equipment, it is not appropriate for employers to have authority over the choices that individuals make in their personal lives. Otherwise, employees become properties of an employer, rather than respected individuals.
I don't believe that an employer has the right to interfere in workers' health and fitness habits, as long as they are doing their job productively and not missing time because of health-related issues. How someone lives their life outside of the office is private, and needs to be respected.
Businesses do not have a right to meddle in their workers' health and fitness habits, because it is an invasion of the workers privacy. It is reasonable to require a worker to be drug and alcohol free in the workplace. But, it is totally unreasonable to place any restriction on what an employee can or can not do outside of the workplace.
There was a time when an employee had the expectation of continuous employment with one employer throughout his entire working career. This expectation no longer exists. When this kind of almost "paternalistic" arrangement existed, then there might have been an expectation that the employer would have some say in the personal lives and habits of these highly dependent employees. That kind of permanent employment arrangement is a thing of the past. At this point in our economic development, employees are to a great extent, free agents. They can now move from one job to another, with no stigma attached to such moves. Businesses have chosen to change the nature of the employer/employee relationship. Employers' "reward" for having the flexibility to hire, fire and replace employees at will, for any business reason, is that they have lost any claim to loyalty from employees. The only loyalty an employee owes to a business is to do the job he/she was hired to do to the best of their ability, and to do nothing to damage the company for which they work. If the employee fulfills his/her part of this bargain, his/her private life can no longer be the "business" of the business.
A business owner is not your father, he's your employer. If you show up for an interview and you are morbidly obese or reek of tobacco, then he can choose not to hire you if the job requires a certain level of health and fitness to be performed well. However, once you are on board with the company, he has no right to dictate how you live or take care of yourself.
Businesses have no right to interfere with workers' private lives, even if a worker has an unhealthy habit that might lead to a health issue and eventual health insurance claim. There is simply no way to be fair, and some workers are likely to be unfairly penalized for an obvious habit (smoking), while other, just as unhealthy habits go unnoticed (poor stress management). Other habits may be unhealthy, but not yet recognized as such. Another worker may engage in a "healthy" habit such as running, meanwhile causing permanent damage to their knee. So, who decides? Encouraging healthy behaviors is fine, but making them a condition of work should be illegal.
Work is only a portion of a person's life. What a person does outside of the workplace is no business of the employer's. Meddling in a worker's health of fitness habits is overly intrusive and carries only very marginal benefits, especially when the cost to the company of trying to monitor these habits is considered. Such intrusiveness can actually destroy worker morale, and compel good workers to see employment elsewhere to avoid their employer's meddling. Workers have a right to live their lives as they choose.