Volusia County does not hire people who are addicted to nicotine. Why they don’t hire nicotine addicts is their business. I can’t speak to their reasoning.
The three employees knew they would be terminated for using nicotine, but chose to anyway. And now they are surprised, or think they should be given a second chance, even when they admin they knowingly violated their employer’s policy.
Yes, smoking is legal at home. And so is firing, or refusing to employ someone, who is a smoker. Smokers are not a “protected class” meaning Volusia County has every right to terminate whomever they wish to terminate, for any reason.
In case you aren’t familiar with the term “protected class” and think these terminations are illegal, ask yourself; are any of these people being “discriminated” against?
Several Federal laws, starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (even 1866), specifically state that persons can’t be discriminated based on: race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, family status, sexual orientation (sometimes), disability status, or genetics.
Interestingly enough, that list doesn’t contain “nicotine addicts.”
Some comments have likened the Volusia policy to firing people for being overweight. I think that’s a good idea. Am I the only one that sees the irony in having a fat paramedic reeking of cigarette smoke taking care of the little old lady?
Why should an employer be penalized with higher insurance costs for the bad decisions of some of their employees? I don’t think an employer should. It’s in essence, asking the employer to subsidize the employee’s bad behavior.
Something that very few people have pointed out is whose jobs these are. Your job does not belong to you. It belongs to the person (or company) who signs your paycheck. They make the rules, not you. The workforce is like a club. You follow the rules set up, or you don’t. The decision is yours.
This is coming from a paramedic who is admittedly overweight. Not too much, but enough that I know I need to lose weight. And I also enjoy nicotine.
If my employer was to tell me that starting tomorrow, nicotine use (even off duty) would be banned, then I would never use nicotine again.
If my employer was to tell me that starting tomorrow, I had x number of weeks to lose x number of pounds, or to weigh x; you can rest assured I would be taking a walk tomorrow, and would have enjoyed my last soda.
I will reiterate what I said earlier: I think it’s a good thing these medics were terminated. They knew the rules, and chose to violate them.
Way to go, Volusia County.