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  #1  
July 27th, 2012, 11:12 AM
foxfire_ga79
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It's been a while since we've visited this one, and I've got a new article to bring it up with again.
This time, a hospital receptionist has been fired for smelling like smoke at work.

Minnesota woman claims she was fired for smelling like cigarette smoke | Fox News

Is it another nail in the coffin of freedom as someone in the article said? After all, smoking is legal. Or is it an employer's right to let go of someone who smells offensively?

I'm on the hospital's side with this one. Though she did not actually smoke on hospital property and admittedly did not break that no smoking on campus rule, I think this particular incident shows off the hygienic aspect of smoking. When you smell something, it's because there are particles of that substance floating in the air. If you smell smoke, smoke is in your breathing air. Smoke is unclean and unhealthy. Even small amounts of smoke can trigger asthma attacks.
I think employers have the right to let go of people who smell so strong that there are complaints. People get told not to wear strong colognes to work even though those are legal. It's my legal right to run and exercise vigorously off the clock and to not wear deodorant if I don't feel like it, but I'm 100% certain that every single employer I've ever had would have let me go if I'd consistently come in to work smelling like I'd just been out for a run, even if I looked clean.

Substitute one strong smell for another in this argument. If I'm not allowed to smell at work like I've been exercising, why are smokers allowed to smell at work like they've been smoking?
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  #2  
July 27th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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I think if someone comes to work stinky every day someone else should sit down and have a serious chat with them about courtesy and conduct in a work environment. I guess it comes down to - was this person warned repeatedly?

Since she'd only worked their 6 weeks I'm left feeling after reading the article like maybe this was an excuse and they let her go for other reasons.
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  #3  
July 27th, 2012, 12:53 PM
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When I did a clinical at a hospital for OT, many of the nurses would step outside for a smoke break. Some would spray themselves to hide the smokey smell.

I can understand not wanting your employees to smell like smoke. Third hand smoke can be dangrous for someone with pulmonary conditions. If the hospital had warned her and it was in their policy, then they had a right to fire her.
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  #4  
July 27th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire_ga79 View Post
It's been a while since we've visited this one, and I've got a new article to bring it up with again.
This time, a hospital receptionist has been fired for smelling like smoke at work.

Minnesota woman claims she was fired for smelling like cigarette smoke | Fox News

Is it another nail in the coffin of freedom as someone in the article said? After all, smoking is legal. Or is it an employer's right to let go of someone who smells offensively?

I'm on the hospital's side with this one. Though she did not actually smoke on hospital property and admittedly did not break that no smoking on campus rule, I think this particular incident shows off the hygienic aspect of smoking. When you smell something, it's because there are particles of that substance floating in the air. If you smell smoke, smoke is in your breathing air. Smoke is unclean and unhealthy. Even small amounts of smoke can trigger asthma attacks.
I think employers have the right to let go of people who smell so strong that there are complaints. People get told not to wear strong colognes to work even though those are legal. It's my legal right to run and exercise vigorously off the clock and to not wear deodorant if I don't feel like it, but I'm 100% certain that every single employer I've ever had would have let me go if I'd consistently come in to work smelling like I'd just been out for a run, even if I looked clean.

Substitute one strong smell for another in this argument. If I'm not allowed to smell at work like I've been exercising, why are smokers allowed to smell at work like they've been smoking?

I have very strong feelings about smoking... but they don't fit exactly what you're asking. So I ditto what you said.

We let people go all the time for "odors" be it consistent BO, or bathing in perfume/cologne, after sufficient warnings that is when I was working in Call Centers. Of course, they did nothing about the smokers, but I'm told they do now!
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  #5  
July 27th, 2012, 02:28 PM
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I am adamantly opposed to anti-smoking legislation, like restaurant smoking bans and punitive "sin" taxes but this isn't the same thing. She was employed by a private hospital in an "employment at will" state and they were well within their rights to terminate her employment for any reason they deem justified. Considering Minnesota's is an employment at will state, the employer gave her more than they are required to by giving her repeated warnings to address the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinchan View Post
I can understand not wanting your employees to smell like smoke. Third hand smoke can be dangrous for someone with pulmonary conditions. If the hospital had warned her and it was in their policy, then they had a right to fire her.
FTR, the alleged dangers of "third hand smoke" were identified and supported by nothing more than a telephone poll conducted by the National Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control to gauge the attitudes and beliefs of consumers regarding statements such as:
Quote:
“Breathing air in a car today where people smoked yesterday can harm the health of babies and children.”
“Breathing air in a room where people smoked yesterday can harm the health of babies and children.”
The answers to said poll are cited as the "evidence" which identified third hand smoke as a significant health danger.

That's not science, that is propaganda.





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  #6  
July 27th, 2012, 03:30 PM
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In the medical field you should not be wearing cologne, perfume, scented lotions, etc. That also includes smelling like cigarette smoke. It can trigger allergies in the patients. Plus, smelling like musty cigarettes is gross. When I have patients that smell like smoke, I literally have to spray the room down and let it air out for at least a few minutes. That actually goes for anyone that smells bad. It also goes for bad perfumes and colognes too.

I would not want my healthcare worker smelling like smoke and if she was given a warning and still continued to stink, then bye bye.
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  #7  
July 27th, 2012, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Hey... Where's Perry? View Post
In the medical field you should not be wearing cologne, perfume, scented lotions, etc. That also includes smelling like cigarette smoke. It can trigger allergies in the patients. Plus, smelling like musty cigarettes is gross. When I have patients that smell like smoke, I literally have to spray the room down and let it air out for at least a few minutes. That actually goes for anyone that smells bad. It also goes for bad perfumes and colognes too.

I would not want my healthcare worker smelling like smoke and if she was given a warning and still continued to stink, then bye bye.
I agree with this 100%.

When I had an employee to help with business one of the rules was you could NOT smell like smoke or any other strong odors. We work with newborns only a few days - weeks old and no one wants that around their new babies. I didn't have any problems, but if I did I would have let them go and that would have been my right since it was in the contract as well as I verbally said it.
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  #8  
July 27th, 2012, 06:08 PM
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I agree with pretty much everyone else. Smelling like smoke falls under the same thing as other hygiene rules. If they can say "no perfume" they can say you can't smell like smoke. Smoking is your choice, people don't have to accommodate your smells any more than other smells. It's up to you to find a way to follow the rules. Apparently what she was doing didn't help enough.
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  #9  
July 27th, 2012, 11:24 PM
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I agree smoking smells gross, but you know what its a persons right to do that to their own body. And when it comes down to it, cars pollute as much fumes as smokers smoke, if not more. So if smoking should be banned so should driving. I dont smoke, but if i want to, no one should be allowed to tell me i cant. its in my rights. And its discriminating for someone to refuse hire or to fire someone if they smoke. Its like the old saying, "if you tell me i cant i will show you I can". We complain about discriminating against race and sexual orientation and so many other things, well its also discriminating to refuse to someone who smokes because you dont like it. And people who have alergies to the smoke? well how do they go out to public places then because people smoke everywhere so if its hard on them, should they be forced to never leave their homes? Or people forced to stop smoking? Neither. its my choice to smoke or not, its your choice to go outside where people may be smoking. thats all there is to it.
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  #10  
July 28th, 2012, 12:17 AM
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This isn't about banning smoking or saying people who smoke can't leave their homes. It's a specific situation where someone smelled like smoke while working in a doctors office, which probably has rules against any strong smells. Why should smokers get an exception to the rules? Smoking is a choice, you can't compare it to gender or race or sexual orientation. I don't see why employers need to accommodate someone's strong smell just because they smoke. I don't think asthma patients should have to make the choice to go to the doctor's office or not (or switch doctors) because the receptionist smells like smoke. That's ridiculous. Doctor's offices aren't like other places you can just choose not to go to if the smell of people who work there legitimately bothers you.
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  #11  
July 28th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MzzMommaD View Post
I agree smoking smells gross, but you know what its a persons right to do that to their own body. And when it comes down to it, cars pollute as much fumes as smokers smoke, if not more. So if smoking should be banned so should driving. I dont smoke, but if i want to, no one should be allowed to tell me i cant. its in my rights. And its discriminating for someone to refuse hire or to fire someone if they smoke. Its like the old saying, "if you tell me i cant i will show you I can". We complain about discriminating against race and sexual orientation and so many other things, well its also discriminating to refuse to someone who smokes because you dont like it. And people who have alergies to the smoke? well how do they go out to public places then because people smoke everywhere so if its hard on them, should they be forced to never leave their homes? Or people forced to stop smoking? Neither. its my choice to smoke or not, its your choice to go outside where people may be smoking. thats all there is to it.
That's not what we're saying. You can smoke all you want, but a employer does have the right to tell employees that they cannot *smell* like smoke at their *job*. Especially in health care or restaurants, clients/costumers don't want to smell that and if you smell bad people will complain. It is no different then body odor or strong perfumes. You have the right to wear perfume and not shower, but you don't have the right to work at places and smell like that if the employer has that in their contract.
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  #12  
July 28th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MzzMommaD View Post
I agree smoking smells gross, but you know what its a persons right to do that to their own body. And when it comes down to it, cars pollute as much fumes as smokers smoke, if not more. So if smoking should be banned so should driving. I dont smoke, but if i want to, no one should be allowed to tell me i cant. its in my rights. And its discriminating for someone to refuse hire or to fire someone if they smoke. Its like the old saying, "if you tell me i cant i will show you I can". We complain about discriminating against race and sexual orientation and so many other things, well its also discriminating to refuse to someone who smokes because you dont like it. And people who have alergies to the smoke? well how do they go out to public places then because people smoke everywhere so if its hard on them, should they be forced to never leave their homes? Or people forced to stop smoking? Neither. its my choice to smoke or not, its your choice to go outside where people may be smoking. thats all there is to it.
I actually don't come across a lot of people smoking outside. If they are smoking, you're able to see them before hand and you can walk further around them. A healthcare worker approaching you to change your wound dressing doesn't really leave you a choice to get up and walk away especially if you are bed ridden.
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  #13  
July 28th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Employers(most) have a right to hire, not hire, fire or not fire for whatever reason(s) they deem appropriate according to their contract(s) with the employee. Provided they stay within the law, it's their business and their decision.

In a medical facility, where the odds of running into someone whose body/immune system is likely more compromised, I'd expect the rules/regulations to be more strict where this stuff is concerned. It's not a matter of "I have every right to smoke, or smell, as I wish". It's a matter of "everyone around you has a right to not be made sick(er) because of your choice(s)". In that case one right trumps the other.

I take it the folks who think "well if they have an allergy how do they go out" don't have anyone in their immediate family with such an issue. I can only guess, but if you did you might just understand exactly what a pain in the *** this sort of thing can be. When ds filleted his toe not long ago the PA handling him in the er totally smelled of not only smoke but also some kind of nasty food and a terrible perfume to cover the smell. I don't know what, and I don't care what. I do care that her scrubs smelled so badly we could still smell it after she walked out of the room. I do care that she made dd sneeze enough that she couldn't be in the room with her and she had to leave. Was dd harmed? No not really. Could she have been? Yeah if she kept sneezing her asthma would flare. That's what happens, and it sucks.

It's my job as a parent to not put my kid in a situation where their health might be compromised. But I can't do it alone. Despite what some might think. Dd is going to run into situations like this, all over the place. In fact, we do-which is why we keep meds on hand at all times in my purse or she carries them-my mom even has them on hand at all times. Sometimes it will be unavoidable. But there are certain environments where I'd expect at the very least the staff have some sort of common sense. It's common sense that in a medical facility you will be around people with illnesses and even compromised immune systems. It seems common sense you'd not want to expose them to more things than absolutely needed. Not that medical environments are the cleanest in the world to begin with. But why on earth would you CHOOSE to make them even more unclean for everyone else around you? Even if dd wasn't a patient there, who's to say there weren't others there who could have also suffered from that. It's not like everyone in the ER is there for a filleted toe.

Your rights end when mine begin. In this case, the hospital did right, imo. Her right to smell like a stanky ashtray ended when it compromised the environment for everyone else around her. As per their contract with her, they are will within their rights to terminate. Sometimes I don't think people in this sort of line of work realize that they can't cover up what they're trying to cover up as easily as they believe. I don't care of people smoke, or eat nasty smelling food, or wear gross smelling perfume... you do whatever makes you happy. But it's pretty ignorant to assume no one else around you will care, lol. That's why employers have those sorts of rules in place to begin with.
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  #14  
July 28th, 2012, 04:44 PM
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Employers have the right to certain rules.

My hospital rules for the position of nursing include:
No body piercings other than one hole in each ear
No visible tattoos
No covering up tattoos or piercings with bandaids
Scrubs ONLY, and in the respective colors for department you're working in
No perfumes, but definitely deodorant
Hair pulled back out of face
No doing drugs
No being drunk/hungover during work hours
NO SMOKING on premises
NO smelling like cigarette smoke, alcohol or other "drugs"

If you can't follow the rules, you don't work there. Simple as that. Employers have the RIGHT to make sure that their patrons (in this case patients) want to do business there. I know, having been a patient myself, that I do not want to smell someone's disgusting habit. It's NOT MY FAULT (as patient) YOU choose to smoke and I SHOULD NOT have MY rights to have a safe, stink-free environment to heal in infringed upon. You have the right to smoke, yes, but you don't have the "right" to a job. Most jobs are at-will and they can fire you for ANY reason and you can leave for ANY reason....your rights as an employee are not being "violated" if you make a CHOICE to not follow the rules set forth by the company you work for.
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  #15  
July 30th, 2012, 02:26 AM
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You miss my point. Im not saying its healthy and yes I have family members with severe medical problems including myself. However, she clearly made major changes (or so as stated in the article) by buying new clothes, not smoking at certain times, avoiding her husband in the mornings (which if you ask me is pretty pathetic and kind of sad that that would be suggested to someone). But clearly she made efforts. Would you demand someone was fired because they eat food with onions in it, or have a medical disorder that causes them to have some strange odor? I am not saying I agree that its ok she smoke and sit and stink up a room. But at the same time, how many people in this world smoke and you never even notice? My husband smokes a pack a day and no one we know or meet even can tell because he never stinks of smoke and even his medical providers are taken by complete shock my how healthy he is and that he has no signs of ever being a smoker. But yes, on the other hand rules are rules, but she clearly was making an effort (again, as stated on the article)
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  #16  
July 30th, 2012, 03:44 AM
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If someone had a medical disorder that caused order they would probably be considered a protected class. If someone's breath always smelled like onions and the employer had a rule against that, the person was warned multiple times, and their breath still smelled like onion, yes they should be fired. Whether she made an effort or not she still obviously smelled like smoke and that is what matters. In this case it was noticeable so it doesn't matter how many people smoke and you can't tell. You don't get a pass on breaking the rules just because you make an effort. I can try my hardest to get to work on time, but if I am late repeatedly they're still going to fire me.
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  #17  
July 30th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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It's great she made the effort, but it wasn't enough. She still smelled. That's great that your DH can smoke a pack a day and not smell like smoke. My family members who do smoke, and not even that much, still smell like smoke after a shower. The thing with smoke, or other odors like farming odors, still stay on you after you shower and put new clothes on. It's in your hair, your breath, your fingernails, etc. I can tell when clients come to me that smoke and that they try to cover it up. Because it smells like smokey perfume. If I had an employee that wouldn't be allowed, you just can't in some professions.
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  #18  
July 30th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Close only works in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Effort only counts if it's actually effective and stops whatever it is you were warned to knock off. Her efforts were futile, and obviously unsuccessful. Adios chica.

If you think no one can tell someone is a smoker because YOU can't smell it, you are 100% mistaken. I've smoked in my life before. I don't smoke now. I do have family members that smoke. I can smell smoke even on someone who only occasionally smokes. Your olfactory sense isn't going to be the same as everyone else on the planet, to think so is extremely ignorant. I can smell things others cannot sometimes(it used to drive my mom nuts when I was little). Yet I have one kid who doesn't seem to have the greatest sense of smell in the world. I still don't know what the heck this has to do with the topic at hand. One person, or even more than one, not being able to smell someone's stank doesn't justify breaking the rules or compromising the health of others. You obviously don't think it's a health risk, so we'll agree to disagree on that one.
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  #19  
July 30th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Frackel View Post

If you think no one can tell someone is a smoker because YOU can't smell it, you are 100% mistaken.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this. My husband is a former smoker and while he didn't smoke in the house, around the kids or I, or in our vehicle, I could smell it on him and his clothes. Its not something one can cover up with flavored gum, breath mints, or sprays. Even if you Febreze yourself all day long, the odor is still there.
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  #20  
July 30th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Well it's just like not being able to smell your own perfume. Your olfactory nerves fatigue after just a matter of minutes of smelling a specific smell. Everybody else smells your perfume all day long even though the smell wore off for you right after you put it on.
Same goes with smoking. If you're always smelling your smoke, you're not going to notice it. Non smokers absolutely will.
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