Crossing the line

Feb 01 2010 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Almost exactly five years ago, Dab Bobinski wrote a piece here on Management-issues entitled Employer, yes. Dictator, no. His point Ė simply put: "when employers dictate what their employees can or cannot do in their own time, they have crossed the line. Big time."

Move on five years and it's a measure of the level of creeping corporatism in the US that we now find that employers don't just want to dictate what their employees can or cannot do in their own time, they want to dictate what family members of those employees do, too.

As Business Week explains, "the next front in the Wellness Wars is not about you. It's about your husband, your wife, and your kidsÖ.legislators have been working to give companies more power to tie healthy behavior to financial rewards. "

Let's leave it to Dan to remind us of the implications of this. As he wrote back in 2005:

"With companies adopting (and getting away with) this "save-on-health-care-cost" mentality, it won't be long before they're banning obese people from their ranks. And those who ride motorcycles, go hunting, kayaking, scuba diving, or rock-climbing will also be forced to give up their "dangerous" (but legal) activities.

"...If employees don't stand up to this new onslaught of bullying, it won't be long before the workplace Gestapo is knocking on your door while you're hiding in the crawlspace, wondering if those cookies your neighbor gave you are considered contraband."

So how far will corporate intrusion into our personal lives have extended in 2015? And at what point will we stop tolerating it? Watch this space...