Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smokers need not apply

Well, here we go. 

I post below (in it’s entirety) an article from CBS Boston entitle “Smokers Need not Apply”.  In it, we learn of Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport Mass…where they are now imposing the draconian tactic of screening new hires for Nicotine.  For the record, I wish to point out that Nicotine is a legal substance and available to any adult over 18 (or 95% of the children in Columbia Mo if the kids outside of Rockbridge is any gauge).  It’s based on a possible flawed test that can give false positives even from second hand smoke.  If you test positive, you can retest after 30 days, but you will have to alter your lifestyle and allow your employer to impose their morality on your life. 

I’m sure the hospital doesn’t have any questions about the potential employees sexual habits (risk of Aids), their entertainment choice (high risk entertainment like Scuba or Skydiving) or their choice of transportation (motorcycles are more dangerous than cars)….instead they go after the smoker.  In fact, while they may have incentives for their employees to quit smoking, I bet they do not target current smokers who work for the hospital.

In the end, this is pure discrimination.  As an employer, I cannot descriminate against Race, Sex or Orientation….so how is it legal to do so against a lifestyle choice.  What is next, their opinion on obesity (probably if Michelle Obama gets her way). 

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — If you smoke, don’t bother applying for a job at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.

The hospital is requiring job applicants to take nicotine tests. If they test positive, they’ll be rejected. If they quit smoking, they can try again six months later.

“How far do we want our private employers to intrude in our private lives?” asks employee rights attorney Philip Gordon. “What happens if, during that blood test, they find out something else about me?”

Hospital spokesperson Deb Chiaravalloti says, “We believe as a health care organization we need to make sure we have a healthy environment for our employees and our patients. Smokers are not a protected class.”

Last year, the hospital prohibited employees from smoking in the designated fenced-off area outside the building.

Next year, the hospital plans to ban smoking on the campus all together, even for patients and visitors.

While Anna Jaques is the first hospital in Massachusetts to require nicotine testing, it is not the first employer. Last month, the Massachusetts Hospital Association announced it is no longer hiring smokers.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this last week and I still can not believe this is legal.


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