Where there’s smoke, there are firings

I wish I could claim credit for that line but it’s from MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It’s from a story about how the CEO of the company Scotts Miracle Gro told employees who smoked that they had one year to kick the habit or he would kick them out of the company. It was a matter of good health for the company and its employees. All of this came after the company spent five million dollars on a health complex for workers. The story went on to say that some companies have started charging more for employees who smoked or whose spouses or significant others smoked. One company said you couldn’t come into the building if you smelled like cigarette smoke.

As a reformed smoker (and there is nothing worse than a reformed smoker) I avoid cigarette smoke like the plague. I will wait at a restaurant for 20 minutes to sit in the non-smoking section even when seating is immediately available in the smoking area. I smoked about a pack a day for about 15 years and kicking the habit was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m coming up on ten years of being smoke free and quitting is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

But there was a time when just about everyone in a newsroom smoked. I’ve been in some newsrooms where you couldn’t see from one end to the other because of the haze of smoke.

But should an employer be able to tell you what to do in your private life? The question was raised that if they get on your case about smoking, can being overweight be far behind. It’s enough to drive someone in the business world to drink.

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One Comment on “Where there’s smoke, there are firings”

  1. mike Says:

    They *should* be able to charge more for insurance if you smoke. That’s only fair. But if they send you home for smelling like smoke, then they need to also send home all those folks who bathe in perfume and cologne every morning.

    And I hope someone sues them for singling out smokers but not the overweight. Fair’s fair, after all. (And I say that as a weight-advantaged person.)


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