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Front Page » April 5, 2005 » Opinion » Should bosses run our private lives?
Published 3,839 days ago

Should bosses run our private lives?

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Minute Man Media

How far would you let a boss push you? Maybe your boss keeps refusing to raise your pay and also cuts back on your health care. Still, jobs are short these days, and wages everywhere are low - so you stick it out. But what if the boss then has surveillance cameras put in to keep an eye on you at work, and also requires drug testing on the job? This invasion of your privacy angers you, but you still need the job, so you shrug it off.

But, next, the boss wants to follow you out of the workplace and control what you do on your own time. If you do things after hours that do not conform to your boss's own particular beliefs, you're fired. Would you put up with that?

Believe it or not, more and more bosses are insisting that they have the right to monitor and regulate the activities of employees off the job, even perfectly legal activities. Howard Weyers is one such boss. He's honcho of Weyco, an insurance management corporation in Michigan. Howard doesn't like smokers, so he has instituted an anti-smoking policy.

Fine... except that Weyers' policy outlaws smoking off the job as well as on. He has imposed random, mandatory breathalyzer tests on his 200 employees. Fail once - and you're fired. "You work for me," Weyer says, "this is what I expect. You don't like it? Go someplace else." For Howard, a former football coach, it's a matter of making people better, more virtuous even. He says he used to hone his football players "mentally and physically" - and, he says, "I think that's what we need to do in the workplace."

Excuse me, Howard, but who elected you our nanny? If he can be the no-smoking dictator, other bosses can dictate that employees can't have a beer after work, must go to a particular kind of church on Sunday, or can't have a Democratic bumper sticker on their cars.

To fight back, call the National Workrights Institute: 609-683-0313.

Jim Hightower is a best-selling author and a regular contributor to Minute Man Media.

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April 5, 2005
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