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No Smokers

By TheChas ·
I don't know how many of you have seen the news stories about companies who are not hiring and even firing people who smoke.

My sister works for Weyco who made the CBS news Friday for firing 4 employees who refused to take a breath test.
She is interested in your comments on this.

Further, a local college has decided to not hire any new employees who smoke. Also, they will not promote any existing part time employees who smoke to full time positions.

Both the company and the college claim they are doing this to control health care costs.

Both state there is no "next" lifestyle issue they plan to limit.

In a somewhat related development, the city of San Fransisco has a law pending to ban smoking in all city owned outdoor public spaces.

Now, I have never smoked.
I love the smoke free workplace.

I believe that your employer has the right to limit what personal activities you can partake while at work.

Your employer also has the right to discipline or fire you for engaging in illegal activities outside of work.

Bottom line:
Should your employer have the right to limit your participation in legal activities while you are not at work?


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by Salamander In reply to No Smokers

As a non-smoker, I don't have a dog in that fight, but I think it represents a slide down a slippery slope when employers start regulating non-work legal behavior.

It sets up a precedent, as you said, for other "lifestyle issues" that could be limited. There are any number of hazardous legal behaviors that people partake in outside of business hours: drinking, skydiving, motorcycling.

In my non-expert opinion, I think that it represents an unreasonable intrusion upon one's personal life. It seems to suggest that an employer's interest in one's labor exceeds the individual's interests of privacy. To me, it smacks of paternalism, and I don't care much for that.

I would hate to look forward in ten years, to find that I have to get a note from my employer saying that it's okay for me to go rock climbing on a Saturday. I haven't asked my mum for a note for field trips for school in many years, and I don't want to have to start asking my boss for one.

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Salamander you might like this one

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Nope

Many years ago I used to partake in the occasional Classic Motorcycle Racing of Historic Motorcycles.

Now my Boss was not to impressed with this idea of having his State Service Manager likely not turning up to work after a collision on the race track one week end.

His solution after asking me very nicely not to partake in this sport where I told him where to get off was to think about it for a while and them approach me and say well since we can not stop you from your recreation activities we would like to sponsor the race meetings so I put him in touch with the Organizers and the company promptly paid a decent amount of money to the Officials and didn't even want their company name listed on anything. However they always sent me away somewhere when a race meeting was coming up so I was never available for the actual races as I was elsewhere in the State doing some sought of training course teaching dealers or the like.

Of course the Organizers where very happy with this but I had to constantly appear before the relevant committees and explain just why I was not at the race where I had entered. After this happened several times I worked it out as to why they where sponsoring the races just so they could have prior notice of the race meetings and arrange training courses to coincide with these for me to run.

The really funny thing however is that I was very unlikely to suffer any form of injury at an actual race meeting but it was a lot more dangerous at the private practice days that I used to go to as there where all capacity bikes on the race track at the one time.

I really thought that they had gone to a lot of trouble for 2 race meeting per year and I didn't tell them about the Interstate meetings that I started attending.


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by Salamander In reply to Salamander you might like ...

That's a funny story, Col.

A friend of mine who was into motorcycles (her uncle is a motorcycle cop somewhere in Britain) ran into a few raised eyebrows in her job as a prim and proper secretary for a Catholic church with a hobby like that...

Sounds like you just weren't sneaky enough with your boss! Bet you didn't get away with much stuff as a kid without mum and dad finding out, either?

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Well Actually

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Col

I thought I got away with a lot. But after having kids of my own I'm not so sure now as I always knew when they where less than truthful with me.

But I really only got into trouble for the big things that where a no-no of the time. However think of it today if I did what was done to me all of those years ago I could go running complaining to the Social Workers and they would place me in "Protective Custody" for my own protection and I could run riot. I had a good laugh with one Social Worker who insisted that these children where really "Little Angles" and really could do no wrong apparently this was in some text book and she could reason with them to prevent their anti social activities. She went the whole Hog and got them taken away from their parents and placed into Foster care apparently one day on one of her scheduled visits she was beat to near death by these two with cricket bats apparently the reasoning didn't work. After a 6 month stay in hospital and the Government Agency not being able to place these two little brats with any carer they returned them tot he "Abusive Family" which they had to be removed from and within 3 weeks they where again well behaved little kids.

The sad thing is that it nearly killed her and had their parents listed as abusive to get it through her thick skull that not all children are little innocents. Mine where horrors and I'm the first to admit it.

But back to that job the State Sales Manager was a sneaky sod and to this day I'm still not sure of exactly how he got me to work there. It all started out with a problem machine which I was asked to have a look at because the owner was a rat bag who already had legal action against the competition for some unreasonable thing and since I had to deal with these people I thought it might be a good idea if I "Scratched their Backs" a bit at least that way if I ever had a problem I would know where to get help from. Well I fixed the thing in about 10 minutes and then gave it to one of the machine demonstrators to fully test just to make sure that there where no other problems that I didn't know about.

Well he came in and said "What are you Doing? I'm not paying you to sit around smoking!" I just told him that it was now fixed and I was waiting for the girl to confirm that it worked perfectly and incidentally I'm doing you a favor who ever said anything about payment. Well it went downhill from there and he told me that his Tech was snowed under so could I help him out a bit?

Nothing easier as I hated sitting around twiddling my thumbs so he pointed me in the direction of a rack of incoming repairs and let me loose. An hour latter he came back & again I was sitting down smoking and he again hit the roof so I just pointed out that all the work he had offered me was not only finished but was done to the satisfaction of his Tech. Naturally he didn't want me touching the new stuff only the trade ins which where a mishmash of various brands and models. Again he said something about not paying me to sit around smoking and I said Well I really want to make sure that the unit that I came in here to fix is perfect and I'm not leaving until I'm sure it is.

Apparently he was unwilling to believe that I had fixed it in under 10 minutes as his tech had spent days on it before it was sent to Head Office who had it for 6 weeks and even when it came back it still didn't work properly so out of desperation he asked me a dealers tech to help him out.

Well within 6 weeks I was State Service Manager and I'm really not sure how that came about as I once had held that position and had sworn that I would never again take on another job like it. I never filled in a form to work there or anything just one day he walked up to me handed me a set of keys and told me that I was now on Full Time and the car came with the job. I seem to remember his tech quitting and walking out straight away something about a separation or something which he didn't handle too well so I was asked to help out a few days a week till they could find a replacement. more of "You scratch My Back & I'll Scratch your's." Durring those few weeks I only answered the phone once when everyone else was busy and naturally with my luck it was the CEO ringing for the State Sales Manager. Just my luck but I did have a lot of phone calls directed to me by the receptionists for help from the dealers.

Actually I'm still at a loss about just why I was working there as I never actually agreed to do the job only help them out a bit and he already knew about the Classic Racing as it was well known just how I mistreated myself in the industry. I had a reputation for doing excellent work while at work and being one of the best Techs that was ever around "But that was all according to the dealers so they didn't know much better anyway." But unfortunately everyone knew about the motorcycle racing it was a left over from designing and building race cars and a nice break from my every day work. So even if I didn't want to mention it. It wouldn't have mattered as it was a well known fact particuarly as my wife was known to turn up in the Kombi with the race bike in tow along with all the spares and so forth for a weekends play. I never hid the fact as to me it was just none of their business after all they only paid me for when I was there not 24/7 and owned my soul into the bargain.

The really funny thing was once the company was brought out by the makers so they owned the AU rights to sell the machines things went to **** in a hand basket and out of sheer desperation I walked in one morning and handed my resignation to the guy who Had somehow conned me into working there only to find out that he had just faxed off his resignation and he pleaded with me to stay on as I was the only one holding the place together {While good for my ego it was really a crock of s##t.} But they got in a salesman who was so insecure that he really thought that I wanted his job so he was forever defending his position and constantly trying to put me down. Eventually after a very bad day where I had completely ignored his every instruction he came out with it and claimed that I was after his job which I just laughed at and said that the company didn't have enough money to make me do that work and while I might be a passable tech I was certainly no salesman and sure as **** no desk jockey I was more than happy where I was and the reason that I had refused to do as he instructed me to was that what he wanted done simply was not possible and I certainly was not going to attack a brand new machine in front of the customer by ripping its guts out and replacing 1 lousy bit then reassembling it all again. It just didn't inspire confidence in the product to see things like that happen by a new owner.

The one thing that did get me about him however was when the new CEO came up and I got into a blazing argument with him over some service that I had done for a dealer we where totally on different sides of the fence with no common ground and here was the State Sales Manager agreeing with both sides, I just burst out laughing and we all retired to the nearest pub for a few drinks. That was nearly 20 years ago now and it is still like yesterday as while I didn't like the job all that much the stuff that I was working on was just nice to play with if only there where no end users and no Office Politics it would have been the perfect job. The really Idiot thing was that the new Sales Manager thought for some reason that he had control over me and that I answered to him when actually I answered directly to the AU Tech Manager and only had to be nice to the State people as I had to work with them but I was in no way responsible to them I didn't even submit my monthly expenses to them but to head office through my immediate superior again at head office. I don't think he even looked at them actually he just passed them on to the accounts section as there was never a single question asked or maybe my Boss beat the accounts down before they could approach me about anything. But I never really claimed for anything much and if in doubt I just paid for it but it was for things like taking dealers out for meals and the like when I was out of the Office or when I had a group down for training I would take them all out for a meal and a few drinks whatever they wanted to do. Actually I just hated filling out the paper work so I tended top forget it most times and I was constantly being chased for these forms.


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Getting into trouble

by Salamander In reply to Well Actually

Hah, hah... My Parental Unit's theory was to give me enough leash to see if I'd hang myself with it. I think that, since I was the oldest child, this was some sort of experiment. I never did manage to hang myself, so all's well that ends well. I think that they realized that I had enough sense not to get in out of my level. My younger brother, however, is another story. He still thinks he has something to prove to the world, even as an adult. I keep thinking that he'll grow out of that, but it hasn't happened yet.

Not all of the little anklebiters are innocents; I'm with you there. Some grow up into even less-innocent adults that wind up spending time in orange jumpsuits with pretty metal bracelets. :)

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by Oz_Media In reply to No Smokers

Absolutely not, I am even against illegal activities outside of work having repercussions at th eoffice, within reason of course.

Example: I hired a guy once who was the best floor manager I have ever worked with. His abiltiy to motivate and train staff was second to none. His attitude was simply infectious and every one absolutely loved him.

He was battling alcoholism though. HE was an absolute **** tank when NOT at the office. When I first met him, I knew he was an alocoholic, but he was not drinking or drunk at work, impeccably dressed and groomed. My attitude is always what you do on your own time is 100% YOUR business and NOT that of the employer. Had he come to work late or hungover, had it effected his performace and the way people saw him he would hae been fired, but it didn't. Therefore it is NOT my concern nor my problem. Same with pot smoking, Vancouver offices would be BARE if they fired people who smoked pot, the Island would simply cease to be.

So NO, as long as what someone does has NO effect on their performance at work, it is absolutely NONE of the employers business. That's almost like saying you won't hire someone who is gay. It is pure descrimination without any question about it.

In your sisters case it is also absolute crap, I would LOVE ot see that company's personal research the PROVES smoking employees cost more sue to health costs, I am assuming from sickness, sore throat etc wher ethe employee would not be available for work due to smoking. IT is an absolutely ridiculous concept and an even more insane rule to put into practice. Las suit here I come.

Who cares what some smoking reports of studoes show, HAS THIS EFFECTED YOUR EMPLOYEES? If no, then it is 100% descrimination without any room for question at all.

If it is an issue of people in the office not liking the smell of smoke when th eperson returns to th eoffice, well that is sad and WEAK at best but talking to the employee about wearing a jacket zipped up to protect their clothes fromsmoke and chewing gum would wuickly rectify the issue.

This just screams lawsuit, I would be in court in less than a week, draining my former employer of his wealth so I could use it to but cigarettes.

How ridiculous! Next thing on the tabke I suppose is people complaining about people who smoke in public, I dare you!

That is pure s**t Chas, and even with you being a non smoker I can see that you would respect other people's right to kill themselves if they choose to. I would LOVE for a boss to tell me I was fired for being a smoker! It would be like stopping work and winning the lottery in the same day. That just wouldn't fly in a Canadian courtroom, the boss would be broke and headlined in the local paper as a complete fool the next day!

Sorry to hear about your sister, talk to a corporate lawer.

You know despite my complaints about the government there, despite my complaints about ANY part of what America stands for, your employment laws alone would be enough to send any Canadiamn running. What a farce it is when companies are allowed to gain such rights, cert requirements are bad enough down there, employee wages are a complete joke, but to impose on my personal life... just try it. YOu guys really need to fix your emploment system and start supporting employees instead of the corporations that abuse them.

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My Sister is Fine

by TheChas In reply to No


I did not in any way mean to imply that my sister is having any direct problems from this.

Like me, she and her husband are non-smokers. So they are not directly affected.

Interestingly, when they administered the breath test several non smokers tested high for carbon monoxide.
In order to keep their jobs, they had to submit to urine tests and were sent home (with pay) until the test for nicotine came back.

In the employers defense, the policy was announced over a year ago.
Stop smoking programs were offered.


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Sorry Chas

by Oz_Media In reply to My Sister is Fine

I thought your sister had lost her job due to her being a smoker,my mistake.

I still stand on my point about smoking outdoors though.

In the city thee is SO much CO, just from traffic alone, that it is very common to get headaches all the time and end up quite sick. Vancouver, when compared to larger & more congested cities such as Seattle, L.A. New York etc., is seen as a relatively clean air environment too. Smoking cannot be seen as harmful or banned outdoors. They can't even stop people smoking weed in public places nowdays.

I think I have a right to smoke in public, IF there is sufficient fresh air circulation of course.

As for the company in question, while I don't think it's any of the company's business what I do outside of thier premises (that part still baffles me).

I do think that IF I was to deem it okay to test me, they have at least offered notice and help. I would actuallly be grateful if an employer managed to help me quit smoking. They have given me a pay raise without it costing them much, what a great idea!

But the whole premise of the company being able to dictate what I do on MY time and away from thier office just seems wrong. A little leads to a lot, right?

Testing employees at a company for cigarette smoking is just outrageous to me, though I'd take the free program if I could quit (both work and smoking) afterwards. :)

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Chas that is exactly one of the reasons

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to My Sister is Fine

Why I do not work in the US the employment laws are at the very best pathetic. The last time I was over there I was taken out by the head of the tech support arm of one of the big computer companies and after a few drinks and the like the talk turned to pay rates and quite frankly I was horrified at the low pay rates and even worse entitlements offered to workers in the US. For what that person was making and all the aggravation that came with the job I wouldn't even pick up a screwdriver for that type of money unless I was about to run it through the paymaster.

Sometimes I wonder how a lot of the US people make ends meet and then we hear about the high cost of having employees and just how much better it is to outsource these jobs. Personally I would Outsource the CEO's and the like and employ real workers who produce something rather than pay under worked "FAT CATS" to do little more than punch a few keys on a keyboard and think that they where working hard.


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'they are not directly affected'

by Suugar In reply to My Sister is Fine

Sigh.. famous last words...'they are not directly affected'. Whether one likes it or not, smoking tobacco is still legal (well maybe everywhere but Kalifornia) The nonsmoking bandwagon was hitched long ago as a catch-all excuse - we needed someone to pick on - America needs a scapegoat. While it's very true that some people grow ill and may even die from what's attributed to an assault on the body by smoking, so many factors are not taken into account that I will continue to remain very suspicious of the 'statistics'. One course in statistical analysis made my hair curl enough to know not to believe anyone's statistics unless you have a clear understanding of the background data. That's not normally shared.

Just so this doesn't become a war between smokers and nonsmokers, I think smoking stinks, gives you bad breath, makes your clothes smell awful, and you just don't smell clean even after a shower (after having dressed <G&gt. It permeates everything if you smoke in your home.

I've also smoked for over 35 years...still smoke. In an attempt to beat the odds tho, my current doc has asked me to quit. I only go to the doc if I'm dying, which is the reason for 'current' doc. I haven't had one in very many years. So.. I now only smoke outside. OK, so I'm motivated by the temperature. Going outside when it's -30 or worse, just to have a puff really makes me wonder at my sanity.

Unfortunately, I'm also 'fluffy' (a term used by us that are overweight but don't consider ourselves obese - what an awful term! <G&gt. Anyway, I have a genetic heart issue which was just diagnosed, and I was relieved that it had nothing to do with my smoking. My weight, however, while NOT the cause of my issue, certainly contributes to my breathing. Serious - pulmonologist has given my lungs a clean bill of health and capacity, but my weight is starting to cause problems (not serious at this point).

Quandry...I figure my time is at hand to do something about the smoking so I continue to beat the published odds, but the less I smoke, the more I munch.

Anyway, that's my problem The story was to illustrate that the evil that is called smoking doesn't affect everyone the same, and to show that our weight is as much or perhaps more instrummental in our collective inability to stay healthy as anything else. Environment is never discussed during these debates either, because if a person that gets cancer has lived in a city where they commuted by public transportation and have sat at bus stops for years on end, sucking fumes from traffic and public transportion, sprayed their hair with copious amounts of hair spray to keep it in place, and worked next door and downwind from that smelter, then someone might just have to include those factors in their determination of what damaged the lungs.. eh?

At least in the United State of Alaska, what that employer is doing is illegal. An employer has every right to discipline an employee that abuses break times whether or not to smoke, abuses lunch breaks for whatever reason, or doesn't appear for or leave work on time. However, what an employee does on his/her own time is NONE of the employer's business. Will they next do a calorie count of your food intake? After all, if your colesterol is high, it MUST be because of what you're eating...................................

btw.. you live on the wrong side of the tracks - our employees only live in 'this' city and in 'that' neighborhood.

The death of a nation happens slowly.. a little freedom goes here, a liberty goes there, and before you know it's even happened..... people are disappearing, the ones remaining wear insignia to identify them, and history repeats itself.

But HEY!!! it doesn't direclty affect me.. I'm not the group in the barrel THIS go-round..............


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