LETTERS: GMC out of line with its policy against smokers

I was outraged to read the article in the Gwinnett Daily Post regarding Gwinnett Medical Center’s new hiring policy (“Hospital won’t hire smokers,” July 8, Page 1A). Besides being discriminatory, I think it is extremely hypocritical.

How can you say, “Hospitals and health care providers should lead the way by promoting good health.” Have you ever visited your own cafeteria? There are many fried foods, cream sauce dishes, sodas, pies, cakes, cookies, ice cream and many, many other “unhealthy” choices. While there is a “Health Foods” section, I truly question just how healthy even those offerings really are.

Even the vegetables are swimming in something resembling butter. I was there recently and was looking for healthy food. I ended up with a salad with oil and vinegar dressing and a bowl of soup. It was the only truly healthy lunch I could find. It cost me $9!

This new policy also forces me to wonder what is next? Obesity is unhealthy, so maybe you shouldn’t hire anyone with a BMI over 25. And sunbathing causes skin cancer, so don’t hire anyone with a tan. Maybe you should develop an employment questionnaire asking for the applicants’ average daily activities. People who charcoal grill their food are ingesting carcinogens, so perhaps they should be excluded as well. Why not go further and require all employees to own and use a gym membership? There are many other examples of less-than-healthy activities. Where will it end?

My main point is that people have a right to make choices. The industry exists because of people who make poor choices! While I agree that smoking in unhealthy, I also believe in a person’s right to smoke. I know some very highly skilled, intelligent people who would be an extremely valuable asset to your organization, but they also smoke. I guess that is your loss.

What an employee does on his or her off time is none of the employer’s business. As long as those activities are not illegal and do not interfere with the employee’s performance, you have no right to discriminate.

— Joy Libby