Ginny was your student in Business Ethics last semester. She just called you seeking your advice. What would you tell her, and why?
Even though I agree that an employer reserves the right to hire or not hire anyone I do not agree that they should be allowed to fire an employee because they are a smoker. My belief is that this type of decision making process infringes on our personal liberties that we have as Americans. If people want to smoke then I believe that it is their personal decision not their employers and if they want to continue to smoke even though they know and understand the possible health concerns involved with it then they have that right as a U.S. citizen. I understand that businesses realize that smokers carry a higher health risk which could cause their coverage to rise if they hire smokers but what about employees that are considered overweight? If a business decided to fire its employees that are considered obese then there would probably be a lawsuit filed for discrimination even though it is using the same concept of a health concern.
If you look at the facts smoking is the number one preventable death in America averaging about 480,000 deaths per year while obesity is the number two with approximately 300,000 deaths per year. (Fast Facts, 2014) (Obesity: Facts, Figures, Guidelines, n.d.) So if there is such an outcry to stop smoking in the workplace to the extent that an estimated 6,000 employers are refusing to hire smokers then what are they doing whenever it comes to combating obesity in the workplace? The answer is nothing because of three things, one is that obesity isn’t taboo in America like tobacco is, two we do not want to hurt obese people’s feelings and three more than one-third (approx.. 78.6 million) American adults are obese. (Adult Obesity Facts, 2014)
In closing I do not believe that employers have the right to terminate an employee for smoking because it is their personal right to that. I believe that offering incentives to quit as well as providing programs to help employees quit would be a much more productive solution as well as eliminate controversy. The question that kept coming up in my mind whenever reading this scenario was how much did this situation affect the moral of the rest of the employees. I personally would not be comfortable working in an environment where the company fired a group of its employees for non-work related activities like smoking.
As a nonsmoker; but a realist I can understand both sides. As manager and loyalist to my current employer and as human being with my own issues. I would disagree with the employer in this case. The employee does have the right to do what they want to do in their own free time. However organizations today are always under the social media microscope; to where they are concern about what you do in your off time as well because it can become a reflection of the organization. However; you still have the right to what you want to do in your off time as long as it’s legal. From the organization point view; you have to think about what’s best for your company. And if you deem that keeping down medical cost. And it is determined some of the high medical cost are due to or a result of smoking by your employees are claiming or already have high medical bills. It reflects the company’s bottom line. It’s a major concern both in productivity and financially.
Under the Occupational Safety Health Act; Employers are responsible for providing a workplace free of hazards both physical and health wise. If it’s a health concern and employees resist; the employer is still liable for any penalties (Dessler pg.539).
While attending Santa Clara University, Ginny Erickson had a sales internship with a large radio corporation. Her job focused on selling advertising to untapped resources around the Bay Area. To find new business, she was advised to look for small, local companies that hadn’t thought of advertising on the radio. The company’s informal philosophy for its sales staff, as she learned from others on staff, was, ‘Do the best for us, not for the client.’Ginny struggled with the company’s motto. The radio station had a young audience base, yet they were asking her to convince family-owned restaurants and other small business owners to advertise with them. The station was willing to do anything to make a profit. Ginny knew that these family-owned restaurants and other targeted companies shouldn’t be interested in placing ads with such a young audience, but she was told to convince them anyway. To her, this philosophy was just dishonest.
Ginny was also told to “use whatever incentive, whatsoever.” For a young female, this included pushing the limits of accepted, respectable business attire to attract customers. She had a target to reach and, as a low-ranking member within the company, Ginny didn’t voice her concern about the business practices to any of her superiors. With the lofty quotas they set, she felt she had no choice but to use their unethical practices. Besides, she needed the sales experience and a good reference to put on her resume.
Ginny was your student in Business Ethics last semester. She just called you seeking your advice. What would you tell her, and why? After you create your initial post, respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. Do you agree with their course of action? Explain.