Sunday, August 25, 2013

Politically Correct Discrimination

How far does your boss's authority go?

Apparently in Florida quite far.  The Bert Fish Medical Center recently enacted a policy not to hire smokers and to test smokers for tobacco byproducts.  Employees hired after Jan. 1 who test positive will be subject to disciplinary action up to termination. 

Curiously "The prohibition doesn’t apply to volunteers, medical staff or Bert Fish’s roughly 700 employees who were hired before the implementation date."  Now I get the volunteers and the grandfathered existing employees but "medical staff"?  So the janitor can't smoke but a cardiothoracic surgeon  can?

Indentured Servitude

Now I generally side with employers in matters such as this at work and fully support the hospital's right to ban smoking at work and on their property,  but when it extends to what employees do after work... if you ain't paying, I ain't listening.  To presume that an employer's authority extends 24 hours a day, seven days a week is to step over a line I am unwilling to cross.

“We are in the health care business, and we should be a role model,” said Nancy Evolga, executive director of human resources for the 112-bed hospital. “There is 50 years of data that says tobacco use is bad.” 

I'll take a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Large Fries

If an employer can control one lawful activity 'off-work' they can control another.  That Dbl Qtr Pounder and Fries comes with 68 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of salt so if I catch any of you at McDonald's you're FIRED! Alcohol is also verboten, and if I don't see you at the gym after work (on your time) you're also outta here! By the way, you skydivers, rock climbers, and radical skiers are also fired... pick up your pink slips at the door.  Oh, and by the way... if your spouse smokes... we will no longer be needing your services.

25 states and D.C have laws specifically protecting smoker's rights,  Colorado, New York, and North Carolina have laws protecting all "lawful" off-duty activity. Arizona had such a law but it was politically correctly repealed... and California's has been undermined by their Supreme Court ruling it confers no additional rights. 

So, how far does your boss's authority go?


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