January 27, 2005

Smoke? You Can't Work Here

Smoke? You Can't Work Here and You Can Do Nothing About It

Grau started this topic over at his blog, I'm updating it.

Looks like the ACLU is backing down from the fight and law firms are not going to persue it.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has decided not to challenge the move by Weyco, a medical benefits administrator, because there is no state law prohibiting employers from
controlling behavior outside the workplace, said ACLU spokeswoman Wendy Wagenheim.

Linda Goldberg, a lawyer with the Miller Canfield law firm in Ann Arbor, said state and federal civil rights laws prevent discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, marital status,
national origin, weight, height and religion. "An employer is free to hire
on the basis of what it considers is desirable traits, skills, characteristics
and so forth, provided they don't violate the law," Goldberg said.

The short of the story:

About two years ago, Weyco decided it would no longer hire smokers and told current employees who smoked that they had 15 months to quit. The company offered cessation classes and paid for treatments such as hypnotism and acupuncture, said Climes.
In January 2004, Weyco banned smoking from its property; and began issuing breath tests to see if
employees smoked. If they tested positive, they were charged $50 a month if they
weren't enrolled in a cessation program. This month, the company tested
everyone again. Four people opted out of the test and were let go, Climes said.

While I don't agree with it, the company can set what stands it wants in it's workers and as long as you don't discriminate against the big ones (ie race, age, sex, etc) you can hire and fire who you please in Michigan. I worked for a company that wouldn't allow facial hair on men, they told you this during the interview and it was up to you if you want to work their and comply or not.

Posted by Quality Weenie at January 27, 2005 09:10 AM