American Express Hiring Smokers

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A board member for American Express has brought up the fact that some companies are starting to refuse hiring smokers and that the same should be discussed at the next month’s meeting. He brought this to attention due to the fact that medical costs are rising 10 to 15 percent a year. Employing a smoker, on average, cost about $4000 more a year because of higher Health-Care cost and lost productivity. Smokers will have 50 percent more absenteeism and because of smoke break will work 1,817 hour less a year, that’s 39 minutes of lost productivity per day even when they’re present. Would it be ethical for American Express to not only refuse smokers but to fire current employees that smoke, or is it the choice of the person to make whatever decision they please?

There are a lot of people this decision could either detriment or benefit. The stakeholders that would be directly affected are the employees, smokers or not, and potential employees, and customers. The company’s competitors are even affected in that American Express might make the wrong decision therefore impeding the harmony of the company and causing the competitors to flourish. Shareholders could possibly see changes happening as well. If they are active and involved with the company they could be upset with whatever decision is made. That would make them think twice about investing in American Express again. But on the other hand is they are happy with the decision they might even invest more in the company because they believe in what values and morals the company and investor have in common.

The first option to bring up in the meeting would be to simply do nothing and go on hire as the company always has. If there is no reason to worry about smokers in the company there is no reason to make any changes that might have bad affects.

Secondly American Express could do the opposite and take every action needed to not hire smokers and get rid of current ones. This would be in the best interest of the...
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