The Scotts Co. says if you’re a smoker and don’t have any intentions of quitting, don’t bother to ask for a job. Apparently, the giant Green Industry company, based in Marysville, OH, means it as a young Massachusetts man by the name of Scott Rodrigues found out. He was hired in 2006 by Scotts Lawn Care but was only on the job for a couple of weeks when a supervisor noticed a pack of cigarettes on the dashboard of his vehicle. When nicotine turned up during a urinalysis he was terminated.
Rodrigues responded by filing suit, claiming, among other things, that the company violated his right to privacy.
On July 23, more than two years after he initiated the action, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of The Scotts Co., opining that, in effect, Rodrigues had been hired contingent on his passing the urinalysis.
A Scotts Co. spokesperson told the Boston Globe in a recent article that it implemented the smoking ban (apparently applying only to new hires) Oct. 1, 2006, to reduce medical costs and promote the good health of its employees. To that end, the company had built a fitness center at its Ohio headquarters and had paid for employees and family members to attend smoking cessation programs, he told the newspaper.
What do you think? Is a company within its rights to forbid smoking by employees — not just on the job, but in their vehicles, at their homes, at the local hangout, anywhere? —Ron Hall