17 June 2011

If They Had Announced They Wouldn't Hire Hooters Girls, Now THAT Would Cause an Outrage

STLToday reports today that seven SSM hospitals, which operate under the the aegis of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, will no longer hire smokers.  Not that they won't allow smoking at the hospital, but that they will systematically discriminate against those who smoke.  I'm no employment lawyer, but aren't they just asking for a lawsuit?

I am sure the comments box at the website will be filled with outraged people accusing the Church of hypocritical and hate-filled, judgemental behavior.  Right? Because if people want to help the sick, why should SSM judge them so?  

I won't hold my breath, pardon the expression, but seriously, this seems crazy to me. A policy of no smoking on campus-- that makes sense.  A surcharge on health insurance coverage, maybe.  But flat-out refusing to hire based on this begs the question about just which personal trait or habit is next in line.  No hiring of fat people?  Bald people scare patients too much to hire?  People with cholesterol numbers over a certain amount are not welcome?  If you blog negatively about LCWR orders of leftist nuns, you need not apply?

Job performance is the legitimate concern of any employer, but there is a line when personal matters are concerned.  And please don't send comments about personal matters that contradict the teachings of the Catholic faith when the faith itself is part of the job description.  That is a different situation.

I think I'll monitor Casenet in the next few months.  

From the full story:

7 area SSM hospitals will no longer hire smokers 

by Blythe Bernhard

Smokers need not apply at SSM Health Care hospitals, which will start a tobacco-free hiring policy next month.

Job applicants at the seven SSM hospitals in the St. Louis area will be asked whether they have used tobacco in the last six months. Anyone who answers yes will be eliminated from the hiring process.

"As an organization that provides health care, we want to encourage our employees to take better care of themselves and set good examples for our patients," said SSM spokesman Chris Sutton.

Cost-cutting is a side benefit of the new policy, Sutton said, because "healthier employees does mean lower health care costs."


Anonymous said...

i like it. Now, if they could just put a hiring freeze on people who don't want to work, we all might have a much better experience when we visit establishments.

Paul Nichols said...

I'll bet that if you were a cross-dresser or some other sort of deviant, that would be just fine. But a smoker?? Egads!!!

Here again - they don't believe in discrimination unless THEY are the ones doing the discriminating.

Personally, I'm libertarian on this issue - I think employers should have free reign to hire/not hire or fire for any reason.

Anonymous said...

Now wait a minute, Timman, I'm going to throw a flag here. These are two private entities, right, the employer and prospective employee? Shouldn't one private entity have the right to hire whoever it wants? You're not calling for smokers to be a protected class right along with race, gender and religion, are you?

Dad29 said...

IIRC, the old standard for discriminatory practice was that if the requirement was not a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) then applying such was discriminatory.

IOW, for a secretarial job, one could not insert a requirement that the individual "be able to lift 200 lbs."--unless every secretary was required to do that as part of the occupation at that business.

But hey! Age discrimination pervades, nothing can or will be done about it--so this is hardly a litigatable matter.

thetimman said...

Anonymous, no, I am not calling for a new protected class, and I respect the rights of private employers to hire whomever they choose.

I posted this in light of Hootergate, which involved a private charity being excoriated for being judgemental for choosing to cancel a fundraising event.

Secondarily, it seems to me that this is part of a trend-- and in this I regard governmental action to be the bigger threat-- of being told how we must live.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your secondary point, is this being told how you must live, or the age-old ability of society to establish norms and regulate itself without need for government intervention? As you are (I think) a liberterian, I would think that you would be in favor of this. After all, societal self-regulation through the use of the levers of supply and demand are a very important libertarian defense against regulation by the state.

And Dad29, from a legal perspective, the BFOQ essentially operates as a safe harbor from or a defense against plaintiffs' claims that job qualifications are discriminatory against members of protected classes (i.e. women in the example that you cite).

Anonymous said...

Personally, if I were treated by a nurse or doctor who smelled like cigarette smoke, I would complain and ask for another caregiver.

If I were the employer, I would want to hire smokers to avoid this kind of complaint.

MrsC said...

Healthcare workers are there to do more than set a good example. Wouldn't it be better to hire based on competence? Are non-smoking doctors and nurses better at caring for patients than those who smoke? Where's the data? Perhaps SSM hospitals have an over-abundance of world-class applicants that they can afford to implement a tobacco-free hiring policy.

Anonymous said...

The sponsoring Sisters belong to the LCWR, and we can't be surprised to encounter one more vapid and conspicuously ideological agenda being pushed by them. My guess is that this is somehow connected to their new protect-Mother-Earth religion. Reduve your carbon footprint, you know. Apparently the path between any LCWR "convent" and the tabernacle in any Catholic church or chapel is so carbon-laden that all visits to the a tabernacle, like smoking, are becoming verboten.

Anonymous said...

After Casey, after Roe, and after Lawrence I thought the government was finally kicked out of our private lives. But apparently the nuns are still there.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 17 June, 2011 20:05

Would you intolerantly exercise your inbred liberal bigotry against me if I smelled like curry? Or are smokers a "special" class?

Anonymous said...

@ MrsC

"Set a good example"? So you would fire single mothers until and unless you knew they were widows and the "timing" was "right"?

Anonymous said...

The good nuns are doing this right on so many levels.
If they are truly health-centered, which I presume they are, it makes perfect sense to hire people who choose to be healthy. In the same way, the Oratory would want to hire a priest who knows the EF of the Eucharist, AND chooses a life that is consistent with that.

Non-smoking health-care worker

Secondly, they are leading by example. Doesn't make sense for them to hire smokers who are supposed to tell patients that if they wanted to be healthy, they shouldn't smoke. You wouldn't want a priest at the Oratory who says not to fall into pornography, but then runs back to his computer filled with it, would you?

Third, it makes immense economic sense for them. They may be saving themselves tens of millions down the road by not having to pay for damages that smoking does. In the same way, the church is saving billions in legal payouts now by ensuring that they are not ordaining pedophiles.

Churches have a lot to learn from the dignity, courage, vision and consistency that SSM has here - the church would be in much better shape if they had been as diligent!

Anonymous said...

Our communist government is now forcing tobacco companies to include graphic pictures of the damages smoking causes in humans on cigarette packs. One depicts a corpse and another a tracheotomy patient.

Why does the government need to get involved. Can't they see that it is far more important for tobacco companies to have a thriving business? Why did they stop them from marketing Joe Cool cartoons to get 13-14 year olds addicted to nicotine. Isn't it far more "America" to help huge corporations reap massive profit than preventing children from being duped by them? And don't we agree that the government has no right to prevent corporations from achieving maximum profits by allowing them to tell lies, market to children, and make claims that nicotine is good for you?

And isn't it sad that not nearly as many children are addicted by age 16 as had been 20 years ago?

Thankfully, these multinationals can advertise unfettered by government restrictions in other countries, so at least their sacred profits aren't harmed...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 21 June, 2011 15:33: the Church has never ordained pedophiles. There are pedophiles in the priesthood because there are pedophiles in society (at a slightly higher rate for society at large, by the way). Nobody knew how to handle this problem effectively a few years ago because nobody understood it or even knew the word for it. Metaphorically speaking, the Church finally learned the word for it AT PRECISELY THE SAME DAY AND HOUR THAT YOU, AND ALL THE REST OF US, LEARNED THE WORD FOR IT, and since then the Church has done everything She can to take care of it. Get over it already.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:07. Interesting post - the Anon at 15:33 doesn't mention the word "pedophile" one time. They did mention pornography though.

The comparison between a Catholic health care organization wanting to hire staff who make healthy choices and a church who does the same is dead-on.

I totally agree that the church didn't understand the depths of this problem, and at times made some terrible choices, but grew into what seems like an exceptional awareness towards these issues. It doesn't make the pain of the past go away, but I for one am very grateful for a much brighter future because of their safeguards.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Anon 11:16, but the following phrase, including the word "pedophiles," appearing below, was just cut and pasted from Anon 15:33. "In the same way, the church is saving billions in legal payouts now by ensuring that they are not ordaining pedophiles."
Also, the word "pornography" does not appear at all in the text. Maybe you're reading someone else's comment. Perhaps this was a red herring to distract from the truth of my argument?