According to the report: “The
Lidster reportedly told Fox News that while she smokes about ½ pack per day, she never smokes on the school campus.
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Even if it is true that merely the smell of smoke on this woman aggravated a child’s allergies, it seems to me like the school handled this inappropriately. At the very least, I would have thought that the principal would meet face-to-face with the employee to inform her that her position was being terminated because she smelled of smoke. In addition, I think a more prudent course of action would have been to at least give the woman a chance to remediate the situation. Perhaps she would quit smoking. Perhaps she could find a way to eliminate the smell that was allegedly triggering an allergic reaction. Perhaps she could have been reassigned to work with a special needs student who is not sensitive to the smell of tobacco smoke. There seem to be a whole range of viable options available short of leaving a message on her cell phone that she is fired because she smells.
Normally, this story might not have caught my attention. But coming in the wake of yesterday’s post about a man in the
While there is no legal issue here (with at-will employment, a worker can indeed be fired for almost any reason), there is an ethical issue. At very least, there is an issue of what is appropriate employer conduct relating to one’s workers. Here, I think the employer showed inappropriate judgment in handling the situation in this way. The interesting question is: Did the employer act this way because the worker being fired was a smoker? Or is this the way all school employees are treated?