Michigan firm won't allow smoking, even on employee's own time - Is this legal?

Kiss your lives good-bye, folks. Corporate America now owns your ass.

The ludicrous thing is that all of these states are NOW dependent upon billions in sales taxes on cigarettes! In Massachusetts, Marlboros now are $6.00 a pack-and a law firm just sued the sate-they want MORE money! So here we have the legal community in a quandry-they are supposed to be on the suide of the “lieel guy”-but they are keeping the gravy train going!
Let’s face it…what’s at stake here is MONEY-money fo law firms, money for state treasuries, and money for insurance companies. The rights of people aren’t important at all.
I’d love to see what would happen if everybody stopped smoking-the states would have to raise taxes massively…and a lot of lawyers would be out of work!

Just out of curiosity, if this has been initiated to “shield the firm from high health care costs”, could the company also regulate what car you drive to and from work? No more high performance sports cars for the executives since they might wrap themselves around a tree in them? All corporate fleet cars must have a certain safety rating to be included in the fleet?

Apologies, I’m not certain how the corporate healthcare in the US works so this is a ‘just out of curiosity’ post.


Does anyone not know how they test for smoking?

Huge Anti-smoker checking in.

This is SO wrong! A company should not have the ability to prevent a person from doing legal things. I hope that there are legal repercussions.

I don’t think that’s quite true; there are lots of other things to tax, besides income and sales taxes. Tobacco taxes are probably only a small portion of the whole. In California, only about 16% of adults are smokers…oddly enough, that’s fairly close to the proportion of pot smokers back in the 1970s.

Because no one is making companies do this. Few have done so. The "invisible hand’ will self- correct this if it becomes common enough. If that happens (and I bet it won’t in this generation) then companies that do hire smokers will do so at a lower wage, whcih means their products/good are cheaper, thus they’ll drive the “smoker-banning” companies out of the market. If there was a Law that said that a company couldn’t hire you if you smoked- then you’d have an analogy.Instead what you posted here is a logical fallacy.

They can’t “prevent” one from “doing lawful things”. That would be wrong (well, except on their own premises to a certain extent). What they are doing is firing you if you do. That carries no force- they can’t stop you- you’re free to seek employment elsewhere.

But again- your analogy is silly- it’s legal to wear a a clown suit- but I think we agree that most companies can fire you for working in one. I’ts legal to drink- but they can fire you for being drunk at work. It’s legal to critisize a product and recommend the competition- but they can fire you for that. It’s* legal* to show up for work late… or just stop showing up at all. It’s legal to be a Non-US Citizen (legal Resident with “Green card”)- but some jobs require Citizenship. It’s legal to be a minor- but some jobs require you to be an adult. …and so forth.

Sorry, I can’t get too worked up about this.

The policy was announced in 2003, implemented Jan 1 2005. The employees had a year – and company sponsored stop smoking help – to either stop smoking or go look for another job. It’s not like this was sprung on anyone. Doesn’t say much for your judgement to ignore the warnings of what is about to happen.

This isn’t new, BTW. There was a company in suburban Chicago a couple of years ago that had a no smoking policy, and fired a couple of workers they saw smoking in their cars in the parking lot before work.

But at least you’ll be long-lived.

The fact that the employees had a reasonable forewarning does not in any way diminish the heavy-handedness of the policy. With regard to illegal drugs the employer has become the de facto principal weapon in the War On Casual Drug Use; now this employer is reaching beyond the realm of illegal activities and into areas of behavior that are still sanctioned by the state. I’m somewhat amazed and very disturbed that we have actually reached this point. The company has the right to do what it can to keep healthcare costs under control, but they could have done so merely by assessing a higher contribution from the smokers, as many companies do. While on that topic, it’s worth noting that many companies don’t bother to have higher contribution rates for smokers, which to my mind makes the entire premise suspect.

The next issue will be everyones sex lives. If you are a homosexual, someone engaging in unprotected sex or lead an agressive, promiscuous lifestyle, then you are leaving the company open to potentially more health claims, ie: AIDS, STD’s. If your diet consists of primarily fast food joints and junk food then maybe the company could intervene and force you to diet and excercise according to their standards.
The answer to tax revenue loss due to everyone not smoking is CASINOS. But unfortunately casinos consist of smokers, drinkers and poor people. Their lifestyles will become yours soon enough so the company would prohibit you entering…

Perhaps I misunderstood where it said EVEN ON YOUR OWN TIME. Now if I did, you are correct, smoking at work can be prohibited. If they make that policy and you break it, being fired seems OK.

But the article says

And to use your analogy, I can’t imagine someone having the right to fire you for wearing a clown suit at home ON YOUR OWN TIME. Coming to work in a clown suit isn’t ON YOUR OWN TIME. Now, showing up for work late, well, that isn’t ON YOUR OWN TIME, is it? The same goes for drinking ON YOUR OWN TIME. Drinking ON YOUR OWN TIME is legal, but if you are still drunk when you come to work, that might be cause for dismissal. Being a minor ON YOUR OWN TIME is legal of course, but you would also be a minor on the company’s time and so that would be quite different. I’m sorry, but I gotta say that it is YOUR analogy that is silly.

And “company” begins with a “c” whereas “government” begins with a “g”: that is an arbitrary and insignificant difference between a state in which a government fined you for smoking in your home and one in which a company fired you for smoking in your home.

Because your post (see above in it’s entirity) didn’t have the words “on your own time”.

However also do note- if you work for Company A, but you go out “on your own time” and tell everyone that Company A products are crap, that they instead should buy the competition from “B”- then indeed, Compant A can & should fire you. Even if (again) it is on your own time.

But if you do think that a company that does this is wrong- then you also have every right to not work for them- or even refuse to buy their products.

LOL. Consider that nit to be properly picked!

Health care costs aren’t a legitimate claim by the firm in this case because there are lots of other activities which would qualify as well. It’s like an adulterer claiming that gayness should be banned on religious grounds—it’s hypocracy pure & simple.
I’ve only seen one rigorous study of random drug testing and it actually caused a lowering of profits that was significant and large. (I don’t know where to find it now.) I would be very supprised to find this to be a profitable policy because of turnover & whatnot.

I don’t know if it’s legal, but it sure is lame.

I’d gladly pay higher taxes if I never had to breathe anyone’s cigarette smoke ever again. :wink:

It’s true that other things can run up health costs, but smoking can be singled out because it’s voluntary, at least at first, and because absolutely no smoking is considered the only safe option. Overeating, on the other hand, is a normal, necessary activity carried to excess.

Not that I agree with the company’s action though, as I think I have made abundantly clear. I wonder what additional lifestyle regulations they’ll impose on their staff later on, as the article hints?

So what is your solution? To have the state prevent this company from doing something legal?