The New “Priority”, by Eric Peters

How much control can an employer exercise over its employees’ lives? From Eric Peters at

When did “the health and safety” – italics for the latter – become the  “top priority” of a major American car company?

Why, just yesterday – when Ford Motor Company became a kind of hospital ward that incidentally builds cars. Management has decreed that all of its 30,000 salaried employees must now take their meds else be fired, the honest way of saying what Ford said.

Which was “suspended without pay.”

Which is etymologically like being a “customer” of the DMV’s.

This business of businesses believing it is their business to involve themselves in the health of people who do business with them is a very odd thing. It is like having your blood pressure checked at the shoe store.

But it is not a new thing.

Many businesses have long maintained it is within their purview to require employees not to smoke – even when not at work. The employee is screened – via pee tests – for signs of tobacco usage and if discovered, subject to  . . . “suspension without pay.”

The pee tests themselves are a commonplace thing in the American workplace – as opposed to American halfway houses, as they once were in what was once America. And they are based on the same fundamental thing as well as another, far worse thing.

The employee must in the first place establish his innocence without cause to suspect he is guilty of anything. Bad enough. But it doesn’t even matter that the thing he might be “guilty” of doing is entirely legal (e.g., smoking) and for that matter none of the businesses’ rightful business  . . . particularly if not done at work and without any affect upon the worker’s performance at work.

What’s next? Will businesses claim that they have the right to know which books you read? Whether you have guns at home?

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