US businessman targets fat employees with slim or quit threat

The owner of a US company who forced his employees to quit smoking or leave their jobs has now said he also wants to tell fat workers to lose weight or else.

His ban on tobacco use, at home or in the workplace, led four employees to quit their jobs last week at Michigan-based Weyco, which handles insurance claims, reports Reuters.

The employees refused to take a mandatory urine test required of Weyco’s 200 staff by founder and sole owner Howard Weyers, a demand he said was legal.

“If they don’t want to take the test, they can leave,” Weyers told Reuters. “I’m not controlling their lives; they have a choice whether they want to work here.”

Overweight workers are next in the firing line for Weyers.

“We have to work on eating habits and getting people to exercise. But if you are obese, you are protected,” he said.

He has brought in an eating disorder therapist to speak to workers, provided eating coaches, created a point system for employees to earn health-related $100 (£53) bonuses and plans to offer $45 (£24) vouchers for health club memberships.

Last year, Weyers banned smoking during office hours, then demanded smokers pay a monthly $50 (£27) “assessment,” and finally instituted mandatory testing. Twenty workers quit smoking as a result.