Saturday, August 08, 2009

Who's right on this one, The Scotts Co. or the fired young smoker?

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


M Pickel said...

I think it is a little extreme, but within their rights to ban employees from smoking. If it is a company policy and the employee knew of the policy then it is up to the employee to follow it or find a new job.

What I don't like is that it was only enforced on new hires. If your trying to reduce medical costs you should go after employees already employed too, that's where you biggest expenses will be.

Jon said...

I think they certainly have a right if they're offering health insurance to their employees. That information is taken by insurance agencies and results in higher premiums.