Another local development is this Globe story about Scott's lawncare firing an employee for smoking off the job. The former employee has sued. I am a non-smoker who is very grateful for the societal changes that reduce my exposure to second-hand smoke. But even I found it pretty disturbing that an employer would think it right to control employees' private behavior. It leads to all sorts of disturbing scenarios that have been raised as testing for various diseases and genetic pre-disposition for disease became possible.
I found this blog posting tracking announcements of Scotts and other employers that they will no longer employ smokers. North Carolina's Atlantic Beach also decided not to hire smokers link. Here is a CBS News story on employers regulating employees' private lives, titled "Whose Life is it anyway?"
And this announcement that refusing to hire smokers is NOT discrimination in the EU. This website discusses in considerable detail the author's legal analysis of including smokers as a group under "negligent hiring," as being dangerous to other employees. Includes a bibliography and lists of cases on hiring/firing, dangerous cigarettes, and more. Attributed to The Crime Prevention Group link which states as its mission:
# three functions, providing (1) background information on smoking and laws,
# (2) links to more detailed information, and
# (3) letter writing samples for you to take action to promote safe cigarettes by contacting government officials with authority to accomplish that goal.
The MSN money website also mentions an employer firing employees after instituting a no-smoking-employees policy link. This story links to WorkRights, where a search for smoking turns up a number of stories of employers firing, testing, and refusing to hire, smokers here.
The issue is sometimes called "lifestyle discrimination." Under that rubric, you can locate reports from
the ACLU here
Stephen Sugarman paper at U.C. Berkeley e-repository link (dated 6/27/02)
You're Not The Boss Of Me: A Call For Federal Lifestyle Discrimination Legislation, 74 The George Washington Law Review 553 (April 2006).
National Workrights Legislative Brief link Includes model statute, list of states with relevant legislation, and a brief bibliography, which only dates 1980's - 1991.
Washington Post article dated 10/06 on workplace discrimination link
Ungaretti and Harris law firm report on Illinois law prohibiting "lifestyle discrimination." link
Inside Counsel's analysis of how the ADA may prevent lifestyle discrimination here
Seattle Times story from 2004 on employers' refusing to hire smokers, which lists employers I did not see noted elsewhere link
Jackson-Lewis Connecticut Employer article on lifestyle discrimination from 2005 link
Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin, June 2006 on the legal implications of "Wellness Programs." link through Jackson-Lewis.
Article from American City & County on how wellness programs reduce health care costs (dated March 1, 2005) link
Image courtesy of http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/smoking/