As the lines between personal freedom and public responsibility continue to merge, companies are seizing this opportunity to legally discriminate against people with undesirable LEGAL habits.
According to Health Daily, health care provider Geisinger Health System will turn away job applicants who smoke starting next month. This sort of policy is not new — the Cleveland Clinic implemented a similar ban on employee’s that smoke.
Many worker’s rights advocates feel this policy is discrimination while on the other hand corporations claim that they are justified, citing lower health care costs and fewer worker health-related days off as an advantage to such a measure.
Undoubtedly, this policy seems moralistically based as smokers have become pariahs in our culture, but banning a legal practice outright is totally different than ushering smokers to restricted areas. What’s next, a ban on people who eat trans fat?
Marcy Marshall, the organization’s director of clinical enterprise communications doesn’t think smokers have rights:
“Users of nicotine in Pennsylvania are not a legally protected class. We’re well within our rights according to Pennsylvania law to do this,” Marshall says of the policy that will go into affect on February 1, 2012.
If law says it’s okay to ban smokers, companies will use any way to take advantage it, getting rid of undesirable workers and creating a more obedient employee class.
“We have a responsibility, being a health care organization, to encourage people to take good care of themselves. Certainly using any nicotine products is harmful to your body — it’s been scientifically proven,” added Marshall.
Somewhat understandably, most non-smokers hate to even converse with cigarette smokers, repulsing at the faintest smell of their chemically-laced breath and yellowish-brown teeth. See, look at where my own imagination took me, so I’m sure it will be interesting to see if anyone will come to the support of these admonished smokers.