Whirlpool suspends 39 workers, says they lied about smoking

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Some factory workers are in danger of losing their jobs after being accused of lying about their tobacco use.

Thirty-nine employees at a Whirlpool refrigerator plant in Evansville, Indiana, signed insurance paperwork claiming they were
tobacco-free. Now, they've been suspended after being seen smoking or chewing tobacco on company property. For now, they're still
being paid.

A company spokeswoman says some of the workers could be fired.

Tobacco-using workers at the Whirlpool factory are charged an extra $500 in annual health insurance premiums.

The employees have the chance to present their case at "fact-finding" meetings before management determines their fate.

A survey done last year by the human resources consulting firm Mercer reveals that 16 percent of big employers adjusted healthcare
premiums according to the worker's smoking status.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.




 
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