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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Employees Forbidden to Smoke Even While Away from Work

This is getting scary.
Every few weeks some idiot tries to create a new sin tax to discourage people from smoking, eating junk food, drinking soda, consuming alcohol, etc. Now apparently there are some employers out there who feel they can command their employees both on and off the clock.

The title link is to a BBC article on how an American company named Weyco has banned its employees from smoking at any time, even in the privacy of their own home. To enforce this, they have drug screenings (nicotine) to make sure their staff are not violating the ban.

They claim this is to lower their healthcare costs.

I'm usually not in favor of lawsuits, but this time I say let 'em rip. I don't care if the company chooses not to provide medical coverage for smoker related illness, or if they charge smokers more in much the same way life insurance companies do, but attacking the problem via a ban is unethical and wrong. What people do legally on their own time is their own private business. Smoking is legal, nicotine is not an illegal drug and it is not up to the employer to modify people's personal lives.

What's next? Banning employee's consumption of high fat foods that could lead to heart disease? Cholesterol checks could be used to identify violators. Forbidding people to attend loud concerts and movies that could induce hearing loss? An anual hearing test could be given. Compelling employees to take minimum vitamin dosages to reduce sick leave usage? Random blood tests will tell who complies.

If I worked there I'd be tempted to take up smoking just to make them come after me so I could take the battle to court. Hmmmm. . . . I wonder if they are hiring :)



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