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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Treating Workers Fairly May Lead to Less Heart Disease
05/22/2006

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

When your employees consider issues that affect job satisfaction and performance, being treated fairly in the workplace may not come to mind first. After all, there are health insurance and retirement plans to consider – not to mention wages.

But, according to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, another workplace issue stands out. The study of thousands of British office workers found that employees who believe they are treated fairly by their employers are 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who believe they are treated unjustly.

We’ve all joked about workplace stress causing a heart attack, but this study is no laughing matter.

First, it should be a reminder that the line between work time and personal time is fuzzy at best. How many of us can say that we don’t fret about work-related issues when we’re supposed to be focusing on our personal lives? Our bodies pay a price when we’re troubled at work.

It’s also a reminder that employers must foster a culture of dignity and respect. According to the study researchers, this is done by consistently involving workers in decision-making that affects them.

It may sound simple, but the ramifications can be dramatic when employers ignore their workers’ sense of justice.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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