Where There’s Smoke, You’re Fired

I actually borrowed that title from a news report about what I see as the insanity that is invading corporate America. A health care company implemented a policy banning smoking. Not just at work but anywhere at anytime. The owner does not want to pay higher health costs because of his employees smoking. The policy was developed about a year or so ago and employees were given time to kick the habit. One employee quit working there before the ban went into effect and 14 others quit smoking. Four employees refused to take a test to determine if they had been smoking and were fired.

I know that smoking is not one of the brightest things that a person can do. I also know that smoking is perfectly legal in this country. Unfortunately, these folks might not have a leg to stand on. There are many states in the country that allow employers to fire employees who smoke regardless of when they do it. In other states they may not fire smokers.

I think this is a slippery slope. How many other unhealthy activities will employees get fired for? Now that they have been fired for the legal activity of smoking, what will stop employers from weighing them and firing the ones who have a high BMI? Perhaps employees will be forbidden from eating fast food, junk food, drinking alcohol, or engaging in risky sexual behavior.

I find it amazing that a company can not fire people who engage in homosexual sex even though they are at the greatest risk for HIV (which costs a lot in health care dollars) but they can fire people for smoking. Both are personal choices but smokers are not a protected group. The company was allowed to check to see if the employees were using tobacco and this was deemed OK. Can you imagine the uproar if the company said they were going to test everyone for HIV and fire those who have it because they cost too much in health care?

We have become a society where personal choices, no matter how stupid they might be, are being regulated by big brother. Orwell would be very pleased by this. Soon they will be testing cholesterol, body fat percentage, height/weight and BMI. If this goes unchallenged or is allowed to stand, then a Pandora’s box will have been opened and we will go down a path that is not very rosy.

Imagine this. Your wife just gives birth to your first child and you have the traditional cigar. You go to work and they test you. Bang, instant unemployment.
Read it here.



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2 Responses to “Where There’s Smoke, You’re Fired”

  1. I am in total agreement with you on this one. So much so I was inspired to do vlog on it.
    http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1749997

  2. Kelt says:

    Is it really a companies business who is having sex with who? You should watch the movie, Gattaca if you haven’t already seen it before.