Fired Smoker Sues Ex-Employer

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by carpro, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/30/national/main2218378.shtml

    Fired Smoker Sues Ex-Employer
    Man Says Company Violated Rights By Firing Him Because He Smokes



    BOSTON, Nov. 30, 2006


    (AP) A man has sued his former employer, saying it violated his privacy and civil rights when it fired him because he smokes cigarettes.

    Scott Rodrigues, 30, says he was fired from a lawn-care job he had for several weeks at The Scotts Co. after a drug test came up positive for nicotine. He said he wasn't told he would be tested for the substance and was told the company would help him quit.

    Rodrigues' lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, claims the company violated his rights under a state privacy law barring unreasonable, substantial or serious interference of privacy, and under other state law. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and lawyer's fees.

    "In more general terms, this case challenges the right of an employer to control employees' personal lives and activities by prohibiting legal private conduct the employer finds to be dangerous, distasteful or disagreeable," the lawsuit said.
     
  2. Alcott

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    The last time I employed my smoker and fired it up, it didn't sue me.
     
  3. Daisy

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    There may be more to it in this particular case because it involves lawn care and, presumably, lawn care chemicals which may very well include nicotine. The company may be monitoring certain pesticides and chemicals in their employees because of health and liability issues. It's possible that they could be under court order to do so.

    Just speculating.
     
  4. hillclimber1

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    I hope he sues their sox off. They should not be able to determine his lawful citizenship rights while off duty. IMHO
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    Doesn't the company have freedom of association to associate with who they want? If they don't want to associate with a smoker, do we want to government forcing them to?

    They aren't determining his lawful citizenship rights. He is more than welcome to smoke, and is probably still doing it, much to his own demise. The only thing they determined was their association with him.

    This reminds me of a story about John Wooden, legendary basketball coach at UCLA. He had a rule about no long hair (in the 60s and 70s). He had a player refuse to cut his hair who told him, "You can't tell me how long I have to wear my hair." Wooden replied, "You are right. But I can tell you how much you are going to play." The player got his hair cut.

    This company can't tell the guy he can't smoke. They can tell him he can't work there if he does.

    Besides we might not be getting the whole story here. Remember, the ACLU is not known for their fair presentation of the facts, especially in these pretrial deals.
     
  6. Daisy

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    What's the ACLU got to do with it? The source is AP, not ACLU.
     
  7. Terry_Herrington

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    Apples and oranges, Larry. This employee can smoke at home and still choose to not smoke at work, which I think is sufficient. The basketball player couldn't have short hair while playing basketball and then long hair while he wasn't.

    This company has the right to tell this employee what he can do while he is at work, but they have no right to tell him what to do while he is not.
     
  8. carpro

    carpro
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    Especially when the activity is legal, like smoking.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    You're pretty close. Chemicals can get under the fingernails, and even if one uses gloves, one has to thoroughly wash his hands before handling food, or using tobacco. Whichever Federal agency is responsible for monitoring the use of insecticides which include lawn care chemicals will most probably have safety as top priority, and will impose stiff fines on companies whose employees die, are injured, or in any way harmed by the toxic products they use.
    It seems this company would rather have non- or ex-smokers for employees.
     
  10. DeeJay

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    What if the company chooses not to associate with Muslims, or people with another color of skin then the boss of that company has?

    Is that ok?
     
  11. Not_hard_to_find

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  12. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I thought I read somewhere that the ACLU was representing him.

    You think its sufficient. The company doesn't. Their's is the opinion that counts. I am sure the company was more than willing for him to smoke at home. And that is what he chose to do. They didn't stop him

    They didn't tell him what he could do when not at work. He is more than welcome to smoke when he is not at work.

    In the first case, that is okay. In the second case, it isn't. This is about choices. People choose to smoke, or be Muslim. They don't choose to be a skin color.

    Why doesn't the company get to hire who it wants? Do you really want the government telling companies who they can hire and fire? What if a church wants to fire someone for being gay? Can they do that, even if they limit their homosexual activity to off work hours at their house? What if a school wants to fire someone for being a child predator? Is that okay, even if they only did their deeds at home? Of course not.

    The constitution does not give the government the right to determine employment for people. The guy in question had a choice to make, and he made it. If the job had been important to him, he would have quit smoking. He decided the job wasn't that important.
     

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