Jan 27, 2010

Whole Foods Has Bright Idea: a Fat Tax for Employees

Because let's be honest, that's pretty much what it is. In keeping with CEO John Mackey's nutty ideas about health care, Whole Foods will now begin discounting its food for employees--skinny employees, that is.

That's right. If employers are willing to prove their BMI, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure are satisfactory (not intrusive at all, right?) then they get 10 percent more off Whole Foods products. Oh, and by the way, you can't smoke your way down a size, because that's off limits, too, if you want the discount.

This seems more than a little unfair to us. Sure, the company can claim they're rewarding good behaviors, but any policy that discriminates like this is really punishing other employees for engaging in what Whole Foods sees as bad behaviors. And who is Whole Foods to decide what's good for employees' health? What if employees have weight problems, or problems with high cholesterol that are largely beyond their control? What if overweight employees are very healthy? What if employees that fall into the right BMI zone are not so healthy in other ways?

And for a libertarian like Mackey, this new policy seems a little...creepily controlling, to us.

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