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Employment Law Blog

Friday, September 23, 2005

Heavy workers, hefty price

It should come as no surprise that it costs more to employ obese people.  As reported here:

The average medical expenditure for a normal-weight man is $1,351 a year. Men who are 30 to 60 pounds overweight cost $462 more based on added medical costs and absenteeism. Extremely obese men cost $2,027 a year more.

Average medical expenditures for normal-weight women are $1,956. Women who are 30 to 60 pounds overweight cost $1,372 more when medical costs and missed work are included. Women who weigh 60 to 100 pounds too much cost $2,485 more.

My question is whether corporate wellness programs actually work?  The economist quoted in the above article doesn?t seem to think so, at least not for the morbidly obese employees.  Irrespective of disability discrimination issues (some obese employees may suffer from conditions protected by the ADA or State FEP laws), it certainly would be a bad employee relations tactic to just fire all of your fat employees.  Are there any practical suggestions on how employers are successfully handling this issue?

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 09/23 at 09:39 AM