Whirlpool Corp.'s Evansville plant has suspended 39 workers for smoking while claiming on their health insurance that they were nonsmokers.

The company requires smokers to pay an extra $500 in insurance premiums.

Company spokeswoman Debby Castrale says the workers were seen by others smoking in designated smoking areas outside the plant.

She says Whirlpool considers falsifying company documents a very serious offense. Final disciplinary action is pending fact-finding meetings with each worker over the next few days.

Castrale says most of the suspensions were of production employees. But she says more suspensions could come, possibly including some administrative staff.