Okla. Pol: Bosses Should Be Able to Ax Smokers
David Holt trying to repeal law protecting smokers
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2013 12:06 PM CST

(Newser) – If you're a smoker who lives in Oklahoma, watch out: Your boss may soon be able to fire you for the unhealthy habit, if one state senator has his way. Oklahoma currently has a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against smokers, but State Sen. David Holt has introduced a new bill that would repeal that protection and allow employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, and medical coverage based on smoking habits.

"These are the kinds of protections you’d think we have for race and gender, not smokers," Holt tells KFOR. "Smokers cost [employers] money, particularly when they’re providing them medical benefits. ... Forcing employers to compensate or provide benefits to smokers at the exact same rates as they do their non-smoking employees [is] just not fair to employers." But, KFOR notes, the bill still needs to get through a committee before the Senate can vote on it, and an attorney predicts it will face quite a fight.

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Feb 5, 2013 12:42 PM CST
Also you must have blonde hair, blue eyes, and of german decent
Jan 23, 2013 8:26 AM CST
A private business can do whatever they desire, but if it's made a law, they should really include the obese. There are more health problems that arise from obesity than from smoking, and it's far more likely that they will have chronic health problems all their lives. If government is going to discriminate, do the discrimination fairly
Jan 23, 2013 4:16 AM CST
I think for private companies and in certain professions this makes sense but maybe it shouldn't be a law. Smoker's have a stereotype of being less intelligent and smelling terrible, so who would want to hire someone with those attributes? I mean, would you take health advice from a smoker? Would you want your kids to see their teacher smoking? I wouldn't mind having a smoker be my bartender because that just goes hand in hand. But of course making this a law is a slippery slope, who will be discriminated against next? I can definitely say I am biased against smokers, I hate the smell, it makes my stomach sour and my allergies crazy to be around smoke, and when I am around smokers I am always focused on how I can get to fresh air or another scent so I can relate to people who want to keep their distance. It may not be right but my physical reaction to smokers would make me think about how customers or clients might be turned off as well.