Blurring the line between Employment and Servitude

fetal-heartbeat-e1359585870146There is a disturbing trend among many large employers to coerce their employees into giving them personal health information in the guise of helping them. The stated motivation is to make their workforce healthier which of course is coded language for reduce the costs of their medical benefits.

Employers do things like reduce benefits to those employees who don’t participate in their company sponsored heath screenings where you are required to give a vendor selected by the company your personal medical information and make commitments to make changes to make yourself more healthy.

They do other less obvious things as well. Contests where they give away health monitors like step counters and encourage employees to exercise. There is no issue with encouraging office workers to exercise, the issue is the string attached that they get to collect all the exercise information.

Voluntary pro healthy initiatives are great and are a win win for the employee and employer but coercion into giving up my medial records to my employer is not in my best interest as the goals of my employer and myself only overlap to a certain extent.

Excusing this trend by stating that working for a particular company is voluntary only encourages more and more companies to start this practice and the further blur the distinction between employment and something far more sinister.

If the cost of employer sponsored health care benefits is having my employer integrated in to my most private medical information then the whole employer health insurance system needs to be scrapped. I understand the motivations of companies to reduce their costs but this motivation cannot come at the expense of the privacy of their own employees.

Jerry Sutton

I am, at heart, a software developer though I am currently managing a small Information Technology department for a mid sized company located in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. When I am not playing with the latest smart-phone or trying to become inspired to write code I read almost anything I can get my hands on from Pulp Era adventures to biographies of world leaders and everything in between.