Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Smoking ban or Smoker-ban? How far should Employers Go to Have a Healthy Workforce??

We all know now that smoking is a sure killer (second hand smoke too) and a budget buster for families, employers and the entire healthcare coverage system. That explains the explosion in efforts at every level and in every sector to get people to quit.

It is a given that employers now are banning smoking in work areas and even in many cases on their premises or on all work time; and many are creating incentives to quit like reimbursement for cessation program fees or patches. But when employers choose to ban the hiring of smokers, are they going a step too far? What are the implications of a ban not on smoking but on smokers themselves?

We already know that in most places employers have not only the rights to do all of the above but even the legal right to refuse to hire a smoker - so we do not need to debate this as an issue of "rights."

3.     There are 3 real reasons why the ban on hiring smokers may be ill advised:

1.This is a slippery slope with no logical endpoint; Will the next set of interview questions be about diet? Will there be a visual screening for obesity (you do not need a urine test to tell if someone is extremely overweight). What about other risky behaviors? We know speeding kills and don't even start with the dangers and costs to employers from alcohol usage. Finally, if advocates of smoker bans win out on a large scale does this mean adding 46 million smokers to the unemployment lines? Most who smoke want to quit and are struggling. Won't these policies have a disparate impact on the poor, minorities, and youth all of whom smoke substantially more than the average?

2. Banning smokers rather than smoking is an impractical, irrelevant idea to the vast majority of American businesses; Urine testing in HR at the majority of companies where they can barely stay afloat right now? Creating a culture of snitches when someone spots a smoking co-worker on the weekend? Isn't a ban on all smokers just a publicity stunt, and going nuclear before using all kinds of best practices?

3. And finally, this proposal is a distraction from what we really need: to see full implementation of healthcare reform so that a wide range of wellness and cost containment strategies can be unleashed; and to see wide adoption of aggressive, innovative best practices for worker and worksite wellness.

There is a debate to be had about best practices and public policy - and the idea of banning smokers from the American workplace is not really a constructive part of it for the vast majority of those of us signing paychecks for our workers. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PBLN's Summit on Business Leadership and Public Policy: Inventing a More Sustainable Economy

Friday November 20, 2009
John F. Kennedy Library - Boston, MA

The economy and our communities are reeling from the effects of short-sighted business practices and public policies. Business leadership must be a leading part of the solution. PBLN's CEO and Top Officer Summit brought together over 200 business leaders for a day of peer-to-peer engagement and discussion of "Business Leadership and Public Policy: Inventing a More Sustainable Economy."

Featured Speakers
Forums with: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, and a Senate Candidates Forum featuring (in alphabetical order) Michael Capuano, U.S. Congressman (D -MA); Alan Khazei, Co-Founder, City Year; Steve Pagliuca, Managing Partner, Bain Capital, & Co-Owner, Boston Celtics and Jack E. Robinson, General Counsel, Benistar.

Highly interactive sessions on business leadership, public policy and innovation. Topics include:
  • Pricing Carbon to Address Climate Change
  • How to build more Housing
  • Economic Development that Creates Jobs
  • Healthcare Reform and Cost Containment
  • Innovation in K-12 Education
  • Clean Tech and Life Sciences Cluster Development
  • Technology Companies And Public Policy
  • Greening Buildings
  • Measuring the Corporate Carbon Footprint

News Coverage

Massachusetts Health Care Providers Urge Revamping Payment System
Boston Globe

Progressive Business Leaders Meet for “Davos on The Charles” Policy Summit
XConomy Boston
Jeff Bussgang, November 24, 2009
Presenters Included
Laura Bartsch, Principal, Millville Partners
Noah Berger, Executive Director Mass. Budget & Policy Center
JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services (MA)
Tina Brooks, Undersecretary of Housing/Economic Development (MA)
Jeffrey Bussgang, Partner Flybridge Capital Partners
US Representative Michael Capuano, US Senate Candidate (MA)
Glen Comiso, Exec. Director, Mass. Life Sciences Collaborative
Justin Dangel, CEO, Consumer United
Nick D'Arbeloff, President, NE Clean Energy Council
Tom Dretler, President & CEO, Eduventures, Inc.
Jonah Edelman, CEO, Stand for Children
Phil Edmundson, CEO William Gallagher Associates
Paul Egerman, CEO Egerman Associates
Chris Gabrieli, Chairman, Mass 2020
Paul Grogan, President & CEO, The Boston Foundation
Winston Henderson, Vice President & General Counsel, Surface Logix
Matthew Henshon, Founding Partner, Henshon Parker
MA State Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington)

Alan Khazei, Founder, City Year, & US Senate Candidate (MA)
Janet Kraus, CEO, Sprire
Robert Kuttner, Founder & Co-Editor The American Prospect
Paul Levy, CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Dr. Gene Lindsey, CEO Atrius Health
Martin Madaus, CEO, Millipore
Jack Manning, CEO, Boston Capital Corporation
Brenda McKenzie, Dir. of Economic Development, Boston Redevelopment Authority
Tom O'Brien, Managing Director The HYM Invesment Group
Stephen Pagliuca, US Senate Candidate (MA)
Patti Prairie, CEO Brighter Planet
Richard Pops, Chairman, President & CEO, Alkermes
Paul Reville, Secretary of Education (MA)
Jack E. Robinson, US Senate Candidate (R-MA)
Jim Roosevelt, CEO Tufts Health Plan
Paul Sagan, CEO, Akamai
Mark Shirman, CEO Glasshouse Technologies
Edith Silva, Partner, Next Street Financial
Stephen E. Smith, Jr., Founding Partner, KSS Realty Group
US Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
Mitch Tyson, CEO Advanced Electron Beams
Anne Wass, President, Massachusetts Teachers Association

Brighter Planet: The official Carbon Off-Set Sponsor of the PBLN Summit
PBLN is pleased to be partnering with Brighter Planet, a Vermont-based company that develops products and services to help individuals and companies decrease their impact on the environment. Brighter Planet is the official Carbon Offset Sponsor of the PBLN Summit and will be purchasing carbon offsets on behalf of the PBLN to help create a carbon-neutral conference.

Monday, November 1, 2010

PBLN Video from October 8 CEO Summit at Bentley University: Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Harvard Business School) and Gary Hirshberg (CEO, Stonyfield Farm)

At PBLN's October 8th CEO Summit at Bentley University, we were privileged to have Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Gary Hirshberg (CEO, Stonyfield Farm) speak to us about how innovative businesses and business leaders can create profit and social/environmental good.

Energy & Environment Working Group meeting

Photos from the September 17 Energy & Environment Working Group meeting held at EnerNOC. Featuring: MA Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, EnerNOC CEO Tim Healy, and Ceres President Mindy Lubber. U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA).

Photos courtesy of Susan Young Photography.
View all photos
Andy Tarsy (PBLN Executive Director), Ron Shaich (Chairman, Panera Bread), Mitch Tyson (CEO, Advanced Electron Beams)
Tim Healy (CEO, EnerNOC)