Cleveland, OH - The Cleveland Clinic has recently joined a small group of other businesses and institutions by adopting a policy that it thinks is socially responsible but which is, in fact, arrogant, intolerant and ought to be unlawful.
What the clinic has done is to announce that on September 1st it will no longer employ anyone who uses tobacco in any form nor will it allow the employees of vendors who work at the clinic to use tobacco. They will urine test their employees to enforce the rule.
CEO Toby Cosgrove, who earlier banned a McDonald's from clinic property, clearly enjoys his public persona as a health care hero but this new policy violates basic rights to employment and freedom outside the workplace. It is blatantly discriminatory.
What is to stop Cosgrove or others from deciding that other legal but risky behavior needs to be added to the list; consuming trans-fat loaded Krispy Kreme's for example, or unsafe sex, or refusing to wear sun screen at the beach. The issue isn't about the health effects of smoking, we know it's bad. The question that needs to be asked by anyone who values American freedoms is by what authority can an employer be allowed to discriminate against its employees for consumption of a legal product?