Hospitals Shift Smoking Bans to Smoker Ban

An article in the NY Times reports that hospitals and medical businesses in some states are now banning those who smoke from applying for a job claiming increased worker productivity as a primary reason. Some employers have gone even further and include in the ban those who wear a nicotine patch.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws protecting smokers, but in nearly half the country, kicking smokers to the curb is perfectly legal.

Lewis Maltby, who runs the National Workrights Institute says, "If we say it's OK for employees to regulate our private behaviors we can kiss our private lives goodbye."

I wonder just how far such hiring bans may go in the future. Could those who drink in private someday face the same employment ban? How about eating junk food, not exercising properly, or promiscuous sexual behavior.

I wonder how actively the ACLU will fight such practices. It seems to me that such a ban on hiring smokers is discriminatory and based primarily on economic concerns.

Read the NY Times article here.

Posted by Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 2:16 PM
Comments
Comment #318476

Royal Flush,
Excellent first post. As for companies not wanting to hire smokers what is next not wanting to hire people who drink sodas? No, you stated employees when I do believe you meant employers; however, if the courts allow that argument to stand can I not hire you because I don’t like what you eat?

Sounds to me that instead of ACLU getting involved the Republicans and Tea Party should tell those Liberal Conservatives that they don’t want Big Government or Big Business telling them what to do. Or can we say All Conservatives want their Liberties taken away by The Corporation?

Posted by: Henry Schlayman at February 11, 2011 4:21 PM
Comment #318478

Royal Flush, I can immagine how far this will go already in some of the Hospitals in my area you can no longer get junk food in their vending machines, the candy machines only put out Kashi bars and backed chips and the like and the soda machines put out only all natural sodas. IMO your going to have to be a jock to get gainful employment by some employers.

Posted by: KAP at February 11, 2011 4:29 PM
Comment #318480

Thank you very much Henry. And a big THANK YOU TO THE WATCHBLOG OWNER FOR ALLOWING ME AND OTHERS THE PRIVILEDGE OF BEING AN AUTHOR. You are correct, the quote from Lewis Maltby should read “employers”, not “employees”.

It would seem to me that if this discriminatory policy is allowed to stand, then pretty much anything an employer objects to in the employees private life may become a reason for not hiring that person.

Frankly Henry, I don’t see this policy as being politically right or left, but right smack in the middle. Americans of every political persuasion should object.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 4:46 PM
Comment #318481

I will join the fray and say “good going”, also, RF.
You’ve actually chosen a subject that seems to be quite bipartisan and somewhat apolitical. Fighting for jobs and “right to work” shouldn’t be guided by voting preference. Years as a steward showed me that the side one voted on had nothing to do with getting screwed over by an employer.

Posted by: jane doe at February 11, 2011 5:02 PM
Comment #318482

A big thank you to Jane Doe for her kind comments. I look forward to your first post as a Watchblog author.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 5:05 PM
Comment #318483

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Applicability

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Fourth Amendment applies to governmental searches and seizures, but not those done by private citizens or organizations who are not acting on behalf of a government.[14] The Bill of Rights originally only restricted the power of the federal government. However, in Wolf v. Colorado, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment is applicable to state governments by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Moreover, all state constitutions contain an analogous provision.[15]


Q: How does a mandatory drug screening fit into this rule?
A: Because the American People have allowed it to be so.

The American People have been brainwashed with the illusion of security and safety and support manditory drug testing as a condition of employment. When private employers are conducting these searches if falls under the assumption that only the government can be held to the standard of the fourth amendment and private citizens are free to search in this way. However, The American People are currently accepting the indiscriminate searches at Airports by Government employees. If the American people accept the government’s indiscriminate searches of people we can all kiss the fourth amendment goodbye and we can thank indiscriminate searches in the workplace for it’s demise.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 5:12 PM
Comment #318484

Royal, The way I read it they aren’t banning people that smoke from applying for jobs, they are just not hiring them. The same can be said for many different reasons, age being one as well as religious beliefs. IMHO It is the right of the employer to hire who they want regardless of the size of the company and/or if the company is publicly held. This issue, while new to smokers perhaps, is an old issue to those with a police record, those that have been unemployed for any length of time, those that have facial hair and those that are non religious. It just seems to have come around to smokers now but remember when blacks and women were in the same boat?

When we water down the labor laws and the labor department as well as destroy unions and then expect companies to be fair it is shame on us, isn’t it?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 11, 2011 5:17 PM
Comment #318487

j2t2 writes; “Royal, The way I read it they aren’t banning people that smoke from applying for jobs, they are just not hiring them. The same can be said for many different reasons, age being one as well as religious beliefs.”

I believe the article stated that in some cases, the job application includes a notice that smokers will not be considered for the job.

It is dissimilar to age and sex discrimination as we have federal laws banning such practices. I believe it still does happen and if one can prove it in court there would be severe consequences for the employer.

But, in the case of not considering smokers for employment, the article stated that it has been tested in state courts and upheld.

I expect that at some point there will be an appeal to a federal court and that should be interesting.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 6:02 PM
Comment #318489

Royal Flush, beware. The WB owner, Cameron Barrett will say you own the copyright to your writings here, but, I have contacted him 3 times requesting my work be removed from WB over the last several weeks to no avail. He continues to profit (via WB ads) from my writings while refusing to remove my writings from WatchBlog as requested. It is a 5 minute procedure, tops. But, he apparently figures once your writings appear on WB, they belong to him to profit from, not you.

Stephen Daugherty can verify my requests to remove my writings, and has himself made the request on my behalf. All to no avail.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 11, 2011 6:35 PM
Comment #318492

We all are aware of the negative and unhealthy aspects of smoking, but the rule opens up a kind of “Catch22” situation. What if another business owner doesn’t like or want someone working that takes medication for blood pressure….or cancer treatment drugs, or diabetes meds.etc.
The desire to take on an employee that will be healthy and live a long and productive life would be a big plus, but it’s not possible and it shouldn’t be legal. Henry spoke of pretty much the same thing in his post….

Posted by: jane doe at February 11, 2011 6:46 PM
Comment #318493

Thanks for the information David.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 6:53 PM
Comment #318494

David Remer’s complaint is not valid. He requested that all 661 articles he’s written for WatchBlog to be removed. We complied with that request the same day.

David Remer is the former Managing Editor of this site. He resigned from that position in March of 2010. He has since gone on to develop his own web site that copies the format, layout and ideas pioneered here at WatchBlog. We wish him the best of luck with new venture.

The ad revenue we collect from WatchBlog goes towards paying for the hosting of this web site. There is no profit.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at February 11, 2011 6:58 PM
Comment #318497

Good points Jane Doe. I agree with your comments that such discrimination provides many advantages to the employer and huge disadvantages to the job seeker.

I have no problem with employers setting reasonable rules for employees while at the work place. And, employers have every right to screen job applications to find the best applicant and one whom they believe will do the best job and blend well with their business objectives and current workforce.

I fail to see that smoking while not at work represents a higher potential cost to the employer than many other habits and health conditions job applicants bring to the work place.

Should this practice continue, it can only lead to greater job discrimination in my opinion.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 7:13 PM
Comment #318499

Many thanks to the Watchblog Publisher for his comments.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 7:14 PM
Comment #318500

I wonder what will happen when an owner of a business won’t hire the first non smoker. Think those who support not hiring smokers will still say the same thing? Could America be looking at the first Nation in history seperated by those who smoke and those that don’t?

Seems to me Americans in the 1920’s answered the question; however, I wonder what Americans today would say if an employeer wouldn’t hire someone because they drink beer or wine?

Yes, for those who oppose the overreach of government it seems that they want the overeach of Corporations in their life instead.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 11, 2011 7:24 PM
Comment #318501

What about other people’s comments? Are they to be removed also? I disagree, David R. Remer. Your posts should be considered Public Domain because of the responses associated with it. You can’t unring a bell, David R. Remer.

Have my responses been deleted also? This is unfair. David R. Remer was an employee, not an owner. His productivity was generated at the employer’s (WatchBlog) expense. We were contributing to WatchBlog, not David R. Remer’s personal benefit.

David R. Remer chose to leave WatchBlog. His comments, my comments, or anyone elses comments, should not be allowed to leave with him.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 7:28 PM
Comment #318502

All Comments should be the property of WatchBlog, not public domain.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 7:38 PM
Comment #318508

Weary Willie,
Although i can echo your feelings I also must respect Davids’ Rights under his contract to take his toys and go home. For why I will surely miss the fact others may never know of the debates he and others have had over the 661 different articles written, still must regonize another Americans’ Right to do what they believe is in their Inherent Best Interest.

Our only hope is that in the future WBs’ Management would change the policy to state all writtings becoming Publlic Domain in order to protect the comments of all who wish to respond to the articles. I’m not sure how one could do it and still protect the copyrights of the original author. However, if the Printed World can do such things I don’t see why the Internet World cannot provide the same measurements.

Maybe David plans on posting his 661 articles on his new website “Discuss America” and link them back to WB so they are not lost forever.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 11, 2011 8:43 PM
Comment #318510

“I fail to see that smoking while not at work represents a higher potential cost to the employer than many other habits and health conditions job applicants bring to the work place.
Should this practice continue, it can only lead to greater job discrimination in my opinion.”
Posted by: Royal Flush at February 11, 2011 07:13 PM

Royal, This reminds me of the famous “first they came” for speech.
“Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

This practice has been going on forever Royal, perhaps it has just hit home for you.
Perhaps it’s a good time to revisit the “at will” employment doctrine. Lets face it you can get fired for many things other than smoking, like stating political preferences that run counter to your boss. For writing on a blog on your own time, for marching in a parade on your own time, for a good cause, a bad cause or no cause at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

Welcome to corporate America and the capitalist system where competition is everything and labor is a bad word. You can’t have it both ways,IMHO,but this is just one more reason why health insurance ties to employment is an idea whose time has come and gone.

http://www.millionface.com/l/i-was-fired-for-ordering-the-cups/ ;)

http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/washtenaw_county/nurse%3A-%27i-was-fired-for-refusing-flu-shot%27

Posted by: j2t2 at February 11, 2011 9:15 PM
Comment #318513

Sadly, it seems David R. Remer has been allowed to take his toys and go home. I had no idea he would intrude again and interject his opinion expecially when he stated he had made his last post on WatchBlog. If his disagreements were with the WatchBlog Management then comments should have been directed to WatchBlog Management, not towards new editors.

This is a shameful and juvenile intrusion by David R. Remer.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 9:27 PM
Comment #318517

I agree with Weary Willie, This should have been handled privately and not on Royal’s post. David Remer suffers from sour grapes. In fact, I believe I remember Mr. Remer, on several occasions, make the statement, “if you state something on WB, it becomes public”, paraphrasing.

By the way, good post Royal. It is simply a case of continued and aggressive interference in our lives. What is the difference between refusing to hire someone because they smoke or a government telling us how much salt we can use on our food? When the government wants to take the ultimate step and make smoking illegal, then IMO an employer can make this a condition of employment, but the Feds will not do that because tobacco generates too much tax revenue. Nicotine is a narcotic as much as any other drug, so why all the talk about the dangers of smoking; if it’s dangerous, then ban it.

Posted by: Conservativethinker at February 11, 2011 9:57 PM
Comment #318519

The fourth amendment has been enforced when the government is involved, but it is not enforced when the private citizen is involved.

This mentality sets government apart from the citizen. That cannot be so if our government is “of the people”.

If our government is of the people and for the people then we cannot separate the government from the people. The fourth amendment applies to each and every one of us. It cannot apply to us when someone says it does. It applies to us always.

We are the government! We cannot apply the rules separately. We cannot say this person can and this person can’t. We are the government. Each and every one of us are the government and if the fourth amendment says we cannot search someone it means we(everyone) cannot search with out probable cause!

Everyone! How hard is that to understand?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 10:18 PM
Comment #318520

“What is the difference between refusing to hire someone because they smoke or a government telling us how much salt we can use on our food?”

The difference Con is we have a bill of rights that limits the federal government. We have no such rights with corporations. Why do you think so many people get up in arms over the privatization of whatever conservatives want privatized that particular moment. Why do you think people get upset when conservatives want to tell us how the free market will take care of it?

You can try to blame the feds for this all you want but lets face it it is corporate America doing this. The continued and aggressive interference into our lives is coming from corporate America.

“but the Feds will not do that because tobacco generates too much tax revenue.”

More than illegal drugs could?

“Nicotine is a narcotic as much as any other drug, so why all the talk about the dangers of smoking; if it’s dangerous, then ban it.”

I am amazed Con, you seem to be wanting the government to step in and solve the problem, or am I missing something?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 11, 2011 10:23 PM
Comment #318524

Some clarification:

David Remer was not an employee of WatchBlog. He was an unpaid volunteer.

The copyright on his 661 articles is his and he does have the legal right to ask for their removal. We have complied with that request.

Any comments associated with removed articles are now lost, due to this removal, however most articles (and their comments) are archived via Google cache and The Wayback Machine, so they are not lost forever.

We do not have the ability to remove all of a person’s comments. There is no unique identifier to even do such a database query. Once you leave a comment on an article, it is associated wit that article and not with a “commenter account”, which doesn’t exist in the software used to power WatchBlog. Some reasonable exceptions can be made, meaning if there is one particular comment you’ve left on an article that you’d like removed, we can take care of that request easily enough. But we can’t honor requests to “remove all of my comments”.

Once again, wish David Remer the best of luck with his new site. He will be missed by many here at WatchBlog.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at February 11, 2011 10:41 PM
Comment #318526

Let’s talk to Rand Paul.



until the late 19th century when the Interstate Commerce
Act and Sherman Antitrust Act were passed

The jurisdiction of the federal government in the realm of criminal law was narrow, until the late 19th century when the Interstate Commerce Act and Sherman Antitrust Act were passed. As criminal jurisdiction of the federal government expanded to include other areas such as narcotics, more questions about the Fourth Amendment came to the Supreme Court.[16]


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 10:47 PM
Comment #318527

No, you are not missing something, I want government out of my life!!!

But answer me, what has changed that would cause a company to not hire smokers? Could it be that, once again, the 2000 page document (that we would learn what is in it after it passes), could play a part in such a smoking rule? Is there something in Obamacare, that would cost companies by hiring smokers? I know the left hates companies, but companies create jobs, and they are in business to make a profit. Profits are not evil.

Posted by: Conservativethinker at February 11, 2011 10:50 PM
Comment #318528

Watchblog Publisher, thank you for the above information. I am sure others also will thank you for looking out for us. I know some of the debates between David and myself are classic WB Postings. So again thank you for thinking forward.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 11, 2011 11:00 PM
Comment #318532

Conservativethinker,
Since the Movement not to hire smokers began under Republican Leadership a few years back and is why the issue has made its way through the courts I should let Royal Flush explain why healthcare insurance costs more for a smoker since he is legally allowed to sell the policy. However, why you don’t like the government in your business how about the corporation you work for firing you because of a pre-existing condition?

For why smoking may cause cancer and lung damage and night even cost a bit more. Heart Problems and High Blood Pressure is still the lead cause of death in America so why should a corporation hire them? Were we not warned about such things happening just a few years ago?

What’s next? Should a corporation hire those who cannot pass a History Test? Seems to me like a good way to reduce unemployment quickly if you have ever watched the show “Are you smarter than a 5th Grader.”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 11, 2011 11:29 PM
Comment #318536

Henry Schlatman, I always try to understand what you’re saying, but this time I’m not sure.

Could you rephrase that for me?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 11, 2011 11:52 PM
Comment #318538

Weary Willie,
Why I am not sure of the exact date the “Not Hiring Smokers” Movement started I did a quick google search of “First smoker not to be hired 2004” and found a lot of articles that talk about it. Now, Conservativethinker wants to believe it has something to do with Obamacare; however, one look at this article http://medicolegal.tripod.com/donthire.htm which post on google as Don’t Hire Smokers.

Now, Royal Flush has mentioned he sells insurance and by law he would have to explain why the healthcare insurance for a smoker is higher than the non smoker. Just one of those little things to drive us all mad IMHO; however, it is not the government imposing Its Will, but a group of citizens wanting for corporations to tell their employees what to do.

Now, after they get their way with smokers what is stopping them from going after those with Heart Problems and high blood pressure? And were we not warned about such things when DNA was the hot topic in the 1990’s?

Funny thing is what would these corporations do if no one wanted to work for them? For actually the group just gave non smokers the ability to blackmail the corporations. Hence, you want me not to smoke than how about paying 10 times more than the going wages for doing the same job elsewhere?

For no where is it written Americans have to work for a Corporation. A fact businesses in Egypt are finding out the hard way right now. I hope that is easier to understand. LOL

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 12:19 AM
Comment #318539

Not really!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 12, 2011 12:27 AM
Comment #318540

RF,
Congratulations on your new role. I hope to read many more interesting articles from you in the future.

Regarding tobacco use, I agree that companies and the government have no right to prevent their employees from smoking if the behavior doesn’t occur on the employer’s property or when the employee is on the employer’s dime. If smoking is truly that dangerous, it should be prohibited like Marijuana and other illegal drugs. Until then, no one should have a right to discriminate against someone for personal choices that have no affect on workplace performance.

BTW, the ACLU has fought against these sorts of prohibitions. From your own NY Times article,”Two decades ago — after large companies like Alaska Airlines, Union Pacific and Turner Broadcasting adopted such policies — 29 states and the District of Columbia passed laws, with the strong backing of the tobacco lobby and the American Civil Liberties Union, that prohibit discrimination against smokers or those who use “lawful products.”
Here’s the ACLU’s page about this variety of discrimination.

Posted by: Warped Reality at February 12, 2011 12:34 AM
Comment #318545

Thank you Warped for supporting my answer.

Posted by: Conservativethinker at February 12, 2011 1:04 AM
Comment #318546

CT,
Supporting the right of the individual to make his/her own decisions regarding what he/she does with his/her own time and property (so long as no one else’s right to do the same is violated) is the only response a liberal can give.

Posted by: Warped Reality at February 12, 2011 1:09 AM
Comment #318547

Weary Willie,
For years America has had people who want to have Government tell us what to do and have always been stopped; however, this latest movement which Warped Reality has proven goes back as far as 2002 wants Corporations to tell us what to do and some of the lower courts have agreed. So what today may be against smoking, what is stopping them from going after those who drink beer and wine? What about anything else people think corporations can get away with.

The biggest problem America faces IMHO is that those rejected will branch off and form their own businesses. Than it would be a matter of time before the Two Types of Cotporations started a Civil War. For with the biggest problem in America today being Money, could you imagine the fighting that would happen if I decided to hire folks for $5.00 more an hour than you company doing the same thing. How long could and would you stay in business with no body wanting to work for you?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 1:14 AM
Comment #318548

“No, you are not missing something, I want government out of my life!!!”

What about the corporations that are actually the cause of this issue, Con? Do you have no sense of the situation? This is not a government issue no matter how desperately you claw at it. Face facts Con, this has nothing to do with government.

“But answer me, what has changed that would cause a company to not hire smokers?”

Seriously Con , this has been going on for 20 years, where have you been? It seems you are a hammer and the government is a nail as you are not able to figure out reality from fantasy, my friend.

” Could it be that, once again, the 2000 page document (that we would learn what is in it after it passes), could play a part in such a smoking rule?”

“Once again Con, you can have these delusional fantasies where the government is telling these hospitals to do these things but there is no basis in reality for this. This has by all accounts been going on for 20 years.

” Is there something in Obamacare, that would cost companies by hiring smokers?”

Yes there is Con it is called cognitive dissonance, it is a deliberate attempt on the part of socialists and communist to deceive uberconservatives into … well this is your delusion you tell me the rest of the story. Google cognitive dissonance and all will be revealed.

” I know the left hates companies, but companies create jobs, and they are in business to make a profit. Profits are not evil.”

Well then quite your whining about intrusions into your life. This is the trade off for thinking that as long as business is making a profit then every thing is all right.
Jobs for non smokers have been created at a profit so what else is there to consider?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 12, 2011 1:48 AM
Comment #318550

J2T2,
Thanks, having learned a new word http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance I do believe many Americans today would be shocked to learn how far the Elders of the 70’s were prepared to let them go 40 years ago and how low many have become over the Guaranteed Civil and Constitutional Rights of All Humans. For if I the Employer am allow not to hire for smoking, couldn’t I do the same thing for those who have sex out of wedlock?

Opps, we just had a Republican resign for almost doing that same thing.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 2:23 AM
Comment #318556

RF

good topic. in the area i live one of the largest employers in the area is the scotts co. they have the very policy you speak of.
i think we can thank the US congress and the drug free workplace act of 1990. IMO it was the foot in the door. those of us in the transportation industry are all to familiar with this. while i don’t like either of these situations, i think they’re very different. willie brings up the point of protection from unreasonable search and siezure applying to search by gov’t officials, but not private entities. this is IMO the key. as a private employer you have the right to hire, and fire who you wish. fair? hell no! legal? probably. we’ve become a society that seeks protection from all possible dangers, and surrendered more freedom each step of the way, in doing so we’ve reaped what we’ve sown. i think it may be to late to undo the damage that we’ve done.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Ben Franklin

Posted by: dbs at February 12, 2011 6:56 AM
Comment #318558

dbs, it’s the feds fault because they did not want to do business with a company that manufactured, sold or used drugs on company property? You guys are creative with this “always blame the government no matter whose fault it is” fantasy, but nicotine is not an illegal substance.

The federal drug free workplace law was signed into law by Reagan in 1988. If Reagan did it how could it be …oh wait. Why aren’t tea party types up in arm asking for repeal of this law and the 50 state laws that are similar to this law?

Why not accept the fact that these companies did it on their own, because they wanted to and because they could?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 12, 2011 8:53 AM
Comment #318563

Many thanks to all who have commented on my first post as an author. I look forward to more posts that get the little “gray cells” working.

Henry writes; “Now, Royal Flush has mentioned he sells insurance and by law he would have to explain why the healthcare insurance for a smoker is higher than the non smoker.”

I do sell life, health and long-term care insurance and in each case the application is underwritten (differently according to the type of insurance applied for) by the insurance company for various health risk factors, including, but not limited to smoking. Age and sex also affect premium as do occupation and avocations, driving record, criminal record and marital status.

Actuaries are the folks who study mortality and morbidity as they statistically reveal historical data associated with each risk factor and assess premium increases accordingly. Obviously, a person who flies his own plane, sky-dives, scuba dives, or such represents a greater risk to an insurance company than someone who does not. A person with a history of driving violations is more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident than the careful driver with no driving violations.

Can we imagine the additional premium a professional race car driver, boxer, undersea welder and others engaged in such dangerous occupations would be assessed if he/she were to apply for and be approved for life insurance?

There are many and various reasons why an employee may represent a greater potential cost to his/her employer which may be as serious, or more serious, than that of someone who uses tobacco.

In my opinion, those employers who will not consider hiring those who use tobacco are acting somewhat as insurance companies do in that they are underwriting for what they perceive to be a greater risk to them financially. But, if that is true, should they not be underwriting for all risk, not just tobacco use?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 1:13 PM
Comment #318564

Warped Realty thank you for the link to the ACLU article. I believe it is a civil liberty issue and very appropriate for every American to resist such discrimination by employers.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 12, 2011 1:26 PM
Comment #318567

j2t2

don’t know what you do for a living, but in my business i am forced to submit to random testing, not because of any reasonable suspicion, but because a bunch of politicians thought it would be a good idea. companies were forced to comply if they engaged in what people like to call saftey sensative activities. funny thing is police, fire, and many others are not. i was in my industry long before the implementation of this law so i’m very familiar with it. it was a knee jerk political reaction to a perceived epidemic in the 1980s. so yes it’s the gov’ts fault we are forced to submit to unreasonable search and seizures.

btw, where did i say anything about using drugs on company property?

as far as companies not hiring smokers, while it may be unreasonable it isn’t illegal, or violate any contitutional protection that i can see. there’s is a difference between the gov’t mandating something, and a private co. choosing to do it of thier own free will.

you said

“The federal drug free workplace law was signed into law by Reagan in 1988. If Reagan did it how could it be …oh wait. Why aren’t tea party types up in arm asking for repeal of this law and the 50 state laws that are similar to this law?”

pigeon holing again are we? the hysteria of this comment is comical.

“Why not accept the fact that these companies did it on their own, because they wanted to and because they could?”

sorry bub, that’s not what happened, but continue to defend gov’t taking of your rights, and freedoms in the name of the greater good, and then blame the evil corporations.

Posted by: dbs at February 12, 2011 4:14 PM
Comment #318572


dbs you seem to be confusing this random drug testing required by the drug free workplace (DFW) law with smoking. These are two separate issues. The DFW law did not include nicotine testing did it? Nope and the federal law only applied to companies that received grants or contracts from the federal government. Why would the government not have the responsibility to ensure our tax dollars did not go to illegal drug users?

“btw, where did i say anything about using drugs on company property?”

You mentioned the DFW law dbs which is about drugs not nicotine. The DFW law mentions using drugs on company property.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode41/usc_sec_41_00000702——000-.html

“there’s is a difference between the gov’t mandating something, and a private co. choosing to do it of thier own free will.”

I agree. The feds are not telling these companies to not hire nicotine users yet it seems to me you are trying to tie the choice made by these companies into the DFW law, which is wrong.

“pigeon holing again are we? the hysteria of this comment is comical.”

dbs don’t you find it a little hypocritical when a conservative administration signs into law a provision that subjects us to unreasonable search and seizures and then having conservatives complain about the government taking away our rights? When the administration in question is the most sacrosanct of all modern conservative administrations it’s like a “what was you thinking” moment, especially when the very same conservatives, to this day, salivates at the mere mention of the name Reagan. They consider him to be the greatest yet the dichotomy exists, he signed the DFW law into effect thereby, according to you, allowing illegal search and seizures.

“sorry bub, that’s not what happened, but continue to defend gov’t taking of your rights, and freedoms in the name of the greater good, and then blame the evil corporations.”

dbs the facts don’t support your wrong headed views that it is the DFW law that is responsible for the corporations not hiring smokers. Like I said they are within their rights to do so and they do so, without the government playing the role of the bad guy.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 12, 2011 5:52 PM
Comment #318587

j2t2

where have i defended the reagan administration for signing the DFW act? it is you who pigeon hole those on the right. i know it may suprise you, but we are capable of independant thought, and don’t ruber stamp something merely because it was signed by someone we hold high respect for. independant thought is not something the left owns lock stock and barrel, and maybe it’s time you realized that.

Posted by: dbs at February 12, 2011 8:44 PM
Comment #318589

j2t2
BTW it was WW who originally brought up the DFW in post #318483, i just expanded on that point.

Posted by: dbs at February 12, 2011 8:52 PM
Comment #318594

Royal Flush,
Thank you for I knew there was a reason why I wasn’t allowed to explain all that stuff about insurance. Nevertheless, you do bring up a good point. Because why don’t corpoartions underwrite for All Risk, not just tobacco use?

Could it be the fact the corporations would not find a single employee? For why not commonly knownby the public. Can you tell us what the top 20 highest risk activities are as far as the health industry sees them. And where does smoking stand on that list? For why it may be on the top of the agenda of the group who started this thing, I believe people would be surprised to find how these corporations are at higher risk for their products and working conditions than a person smoking.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 12, 2011 9:23 PM
Comment #318595

j2t2

another point to consider. how many employers now require pre employment drug screens, even though they don’t fall into the saftey sensative job catagory? like i said…foot in the door.

Posted by: dbs at February 12, 2011 9:43 PM
Comment #318603

dbs, I don’t know that you have defended Reagan specifically for the DFW act. I don’t find it relevant however as most on the right do defend Reagan despite Reagan signing this bill and others into law. I have noticed that you are quick to claim the feds are at fault for any and all perceived wrongs despite all evidence to the contrary.

“BTW it was WW who originally brought up the DFW in post #318483, i just expanded on that point.”

Indirectly yes WW did mention drug testing, but it was you that named the law and the incorrect date of the signing of the law. Either way Reagan signed it into law and nicotine is not a controlled substance according to the DFW law.

“another point to consider. how many employers now require pre employment drug screens, even though they don’t fall into the saftey sensative job catagory? like i said…foot in the door.”

dbs the states also have expanded upon the original federal DFW law. Whether this is the reason for many companies requiring drug screening or not is up for debate. But the feds have not mandated any employer to not hire smokers, it is the companies themselves, your tenuous link to drugs as the reason companies chose to discriminate against smokers doesn’t really carry much weight with me as it seems to be just another reason to blame the feds for something they did not do. How do we solve problems such as this one when we can’t recognize who is causing the problem.

It is time for conservatives to realize that the corporations that bribe our elected representatives to enact laws favoring their special interests is a bigger problem that fears of our government taking away our constitutional rights.

That being said this is actually just the first wave of many more people being discriminated against by private and public corporations, IMHO. Wait until DNA testing is commonplace and employers can discriminate against those with predispositions to certain diseases. That is one more reason we must get away from employer based health insurance.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 12, 2011 11:24 PM
Comment #318611

Here’s an interesting quote from AOL news.

“The real threat to our privacy and autonomy does not come from nosy employers. It comes from an increasingly intrusive government that considers promoting “public health” one of its core functions and interprets that concept broadly enough to encompass everything people do that might increase their own risk of disease or injury. That paternalistic tendency is reinforced by the government’s ever-expanding role in health care, which gives every taxpayer a financial stake in his neighbor’s lifestyle.

There’s a fundamental difference between a private employer’s hiring policies and a government’s campaign to make us all as healthy as we can be.

While a smoker or fat guy turned away by one employer can always look for work elsewhere, citizens subject to the state’s paternalism cannot easily pick a different government. Nor can they opt out of their government’s requirements, restrictions, taxes and bans without risking punishment for failing to fasten their seat belts, for smoking in unapproved areas, for buying untaxed tobacco or alcohol or for using illegal drugs.

Yet some of the same activists who oppose employment discrimination against smokers nevertheless support coercive government policies aimed at getting people to quit smoking.

The American Legacy Foundation, for example, is perfectly happy to “punish an addiction” through regressive taxes and legal restrictions that make it increasingly difficult for these addicts to get their fix — even when, as with bans on outdoor smoking and separately ventilated smoking rooms, there is no plausible bystander protection rationale.

There is a kind of consistency in these seemingly contradictory positions: a consistent urge to meddle in matters that are none of the government’s business.”

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/11/opinion-why-not-discriminate-against-smokers/?icid=maing%7Cmain5%7Cdl5%7Csec1_lnk4%7C43775

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 12:58 PM
Comment #318614

Indiana is entertaining a law that will prohibit smoking in public. It specifically mentions an area of 12 feet from the door outside a place of business. It not only allows firemen, police, health inspectors, to issue citations, it also mandates the owner/responsible individual of the property to enforce the law. This law states it is the proprietor who must exit his establishment and enforce the law on the public street. If this is not done the proprietor is also cited.

Not only is government making it illegal to use tobacco, it is insisting the general public enforce the law or face penalties as well.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 2:29 PM
Comment #318616
There’s a fundamental difference between a private employer’s hiring policies and a government’s campaign to make us all as healthy as we can be.

Although I agreed with much of the first half of Jacob Sullum’s piece, I must say that he went off track with this comment.

The only fundamental difference between government and private interests in our nation is that the government is democratically elected. Beyond that the rules of interaction are nearly the same. The reason why there appears to be a difference is that it is sometimes difficult/impossible to live somewhere without consuming government services, which makes one obligated to compensate the provider of those services. Nevertheless, one can “pick a new government” with as much ease as one picks a new employer. One option is enacting changes by gathering support in our democratic electoral system; another is emigration.

Posted by: Warped Reality at February 13, 2011 2:46 PM
Comment #318617

I always thought we were the governemnt. The Supreme Court thinks otherwise.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 2:57 PM
Comment #318619

Weary Willie wrote; “This law states it is the proprietor who must exit his establishment and enforce the law on the public street. If this is not done the proprietor is also cited.”

I wonder what the proprietor is supposed to do regarding enforcing the law if passed? A citizen’s arrest…sounds improbable as that could result in some serious unintended consequences. I wonder who would supply the evidence of law-breaking. Who protects the store if the proprietor is the only employee?

Weary…this sounds like a joke to me…is it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 3:32 PM
Comment #318622

No, Royal Flush. It is not a joke. A proprietor is responsible for enforcement of this law within 12 feet of his public entry point.

It is his responsiblility to inform the perpetrator of the smoking ban, and to insist it is obeyed. If he does not do so he is as guilty as the smoker.

This bill has yet to become law. The original exclusion of Casinos has led tavern owners wanting to be excluded also. Many are jumping on the exclusion bandwagon, including nursing homes.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 4:03 PM
Comment #318623

OK…the prop insists, the smoker resists…then what?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 4:25 PM
Comment #318624

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110131/NEWS02/301310059/Smoking+ban+bill+moves+to+Indiana+Senate

House Bill 1018 passed 68-31 and now moves to the Indiana Senate for consideration.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011/HB/HB1018.2.html

Sec. 6. A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited by this chapter commits prohibited smoking, a Class B infraction. However, the violation is a Class A infraction if the person has at least three (3) prior unrelated judgments for a violation of this chapter.
Sec. 7. An owner, a manager, or an operator of a public place or place of employment that fails to comply with this chapter commits a Class B infraction. However, the violation is a Class A infraction if the person has at least three (3) prior unrelated judgments for a violation under this chapter.


Good Question, Royal Flush!
The law is changing as we speak. This link is to the third version I have seen so far.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 4:34 PM
Comment #318625

Is it free booze day in the Indiana Senate…LOL

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 4:43 PM
Comment #318626

If we allow our current situation time we will be writing laws for individual people when they are born. We’ve got a good start with insisting hospitals assign SS numbers to newborns. People can be convinced of anything with a carrot and a stick.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 4:45 PM
Comment #318627

I see the stick in this Weary…where’s the carrot?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 4:48 PM
Comment #318628

Looks to me like this is just some more “feel good” liberal crap.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 4:53 PM
Comment #318629

This is the carrot:

“Employees have the right to work in an environment that does not harm their health. That’s really the bottom line,” said Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, a co-author of the bill.

“The time has come. We must pass this important legislation,” said Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster. “It is 100 percent about public safety. This is not only an economic argument but is the right thing to do.”

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 4:57 PM
Comment #318630

There is a very healthy guy in my community. He decided to purchase and run a Restaurant. When he became comfortable with the operation he instituted a smoke free environment. The customers that smoked did not return. Some new customers enjoyed the new atmosphere, but he admitted he had lost customers and reinstated the smoking section of his restaurant. It was too late, though. His smoking customers found another location favorable to their desire. His restaurant did not recover. It remains closed to this day.

This was the business owner’s choice. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. His only option now, is to convince our government to enforce his will on the people he could not convince on his own.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 5:13 PM
Comment #318631

Thanks Weary. I wonder how someone smoking outside endangers someone inside a building. The fact is, some folks hate smokers while forgetting that the huge revenue that supports many state programs is taken out of smokers hides.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 5:18 PM
Comment #318632

Some people cringe at the sight of an unlit cigarrette. This law allows people to smoke in their auto as long as the windows are rolled up. Can you imagine a cop trying to prove a person was smoking in his car with the window rolled down?

Folly.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 5:22 PM
Comment #318633

Thanks for the story Weary. The very same thing happened where I live. This catfish restaurant had been in business for many years with a smoking section. Enough non-smokers bullied him into eliminating the smoking section. We didn’t go there any more and neither did many other folks. Within two years his business was closed.

The bullies didn’t gain anything but to cost this person his business so they could “feel good”. I would like to put the tip of my boot into a rear end or two. It would feel good too.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 5:28 PM
Comment #318634

Wouldn’t it be a policeman’s responsibility to contain the threat? That could be quite a challenge!

If a person’s smoke is such a dangerous substance it would be the officer’s duty to contain the smoke when he sees it and not let it affect the innocent, wouldn’t it?

That’s quite a challenge, indeed!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 5:35 PM
Comment #318635

ad in local paper:

Local government seeking hazmat teams. Apply at city hall.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 5:40 PM
Comment #318636

Weary…I believe farting in public should be banned as well. We could have a citizens fart force to patrol and sniff (pun intended) out violators.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 13, 2011 5:42 PM
Comment #318637

Mayor declares martial law! Evacuation order issued for local restaurant and surrounding areas.

KNOX, an old lady inadvertently lit up a cigarrette in the local restaurant causing a cascading effect in the lives of many of the citizens of this small innocent community.
Local officials and hazardous material experts were called to the scene to neutralize the threat to the public.

“Employees have the right to work in an environment that does not harm their health. That’s really the bottom line,” said Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, a co-author of the bill.
“The time has come. We must pass this important legislation,” said Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster. “It is 100 percent about public safety. This is not only an economic argument but is the right thing to do.”

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 5:49 PM
Comment #318641

RF

you bring up “unintended consequences”. if you haven’t read this book i would highly recomend it. it is worth the time.

http://www.john-ross.net/store.php

Posted by: dbs at February 13, 2011 6:36 PM
Comment #318650

Royal Flush-
It seems to me that the solution is pretty simple: ban the practice, with a few reasonable exceptions, at a federal level. It’s cut and dried, there’s precedent for it.

Healthcare reform would also help, by limiting the cost difference, but that doesn’t seem an angle you’d want to take.

Congrats on your first trip to the other side. Do your best.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2011 8:37 PM
Comment #318654

Nothing is cut and dried when you have a few reasonable exceptions at the federal level.

Get real, Stephen Daugherty. Start concentrating on your local government. The federal government is not the most important.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 13, 2011 9:26 PM
Comment #318659

WW

it’s an interesting concept some seem to have that when the federal gov’t does it, it’s ok, but when a private co. does it it’s bad. go figure. they’ll bitch scream and whine if they think a private entity is violating thier const. rights, but when the federal gov’t does it, it’s for the greater good.

Posted by: dbs at February 14, 2011 5:58 AM
Comment #318665


“Looks to me like this is just some more “feel good”liberal crap.”

Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Indiana, all bastions of liberal socialism.

RF’s introduction of the NY Times article and WW’s addition of the Indiana legislature shows that this is not an issue that is divided by the conservative/liberal line. Massachusetts and Texas have something more than statehood in common.

Posted by: jlw at February 14, 2011 3:05 PM
Comment #318666


The anti smoking laws being passed by states are not attempts by states to deny rights. They are passed in response to constituent demands. Example, 67% of Texas Republicans support The ban on smoking in public places and 63% of Texas voters said they would vote for legislators that supported the ban.

As WW pointed out, we are the government.

By the way, that bastion of Texas liberals, Austin passed a law giving business the option to choose smoking or non smoking.

I seems to me that the companies that are not hiring smokers has more to do with impressing the strong public support against smokers than productivity concerns. If productivity was the concern, surely alcohol would be higher on the priority list than tobacco.

Perhaps that other bastion of liberalism, the Temperance League, will make a comeback.

Posted by: jlw at February 14, 2011 3:44 PM
Comment #318684

Humor! Ork! Ork!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 14, 2011 10:27 PM
Comment #318688


Has anyone in your family ever had hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, a stroke, mental illness?

Posted by: jlw at February 15, 2011 12:18 AM
Comment #318698

jlw writes; “Example, 67% of Texas Republicans support The ban on smoking in public places…”

That’s OK with me and I do smoke. However, they haven’t banned smoking on the street or required shopkeepers to enforce the anti-smoking law. Guess that’s next. When everyone quites smoking and governments lose all that tobacco tax revenue they will find another legal product to tax out of existence.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 15, 2011 11:50 AM
Comment #318701


RF, they haven’t stopped people for smoking while walking down the street in my little village, but they have given a warning to a local restaurant that it will be fined if it doesn’t prevent it’s customers from smoking in front of the store and employees out back.

I haven’t read all the posts so I don’t know if someone mentioned that hospitals have first hand knowledge about the damage and the cost of tobacco use.

I doubt seriously that the taxes on tobacco cover the cost to government.

Tax it out of existence? More likely turn it over to the DEA; Replace a few of those jobs with government employees and provide more tax revenue to local law enforcement.

Tobacco is not what I would describe as a free market product anyway. Marijuana, now there is a free market product. Until or unless it is legalized. Then it will be a corporate product.

Posted by: jlw at February 15, 2011 1:15 PM
Comment #318710

jlw writes; “I doubt seriously that the taxes on tobacco cover the cost (of smokers) to government.”

I know for certain that all our taxes combined don’t cover the cost of our government. Does anyone know how much the tax must be on tobacco to cover the cost of smokers to government?

Hypothetical question: If tobacco usage stopped today, how much of a refund, as a result of this perceived saving, would government give to Americans?


Posted by: Royal Flush at February 15, 2011 4:32 PM
Comment #318810


“If tobacco usage stopped today,” the politicians will find something else to tax.

I won’t say it is impossible, but the government would find it harder to tax something that doesn’t exist, the user.

I imagine a large portion of the tax on tobacco is used to discourage people from using tobacco, with advertising specifically aimed at kids and, the higher the price the fewer the users.

The Democrats prefer income taxes, the Republicans prefer user taxes, so we get both. That’s like Fox News, fair and balanced.

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2011 6:27 PM
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