Smoking At Work
Business Ethics 309
May 26, 2012
Problems With Smoking At Work
At Redwood Associates, a situation developing involving three employees Darlene, Frank and Alice. Darlene was sickened by the smell of old cigarette smoke in Frank and Alice’s office, in which, she had to complete a report that was past due. As a result, Darlene took the issue up with her supervisor, Charles, to no avail, because the law did not prohibit harmless offensive odors in the workplace. Next, Darlene demanded that Frank and Alice should quit smoking altogether, but Charles said that the company could not force them to quit. She then delivered an ...view middle of the document...
Next, I would create designated smoking areas outside and away from the parking lot and only allow two 15 minute breaks per shift and a lunch, in which one could smoke; thus, it would prevent production deviance. Lastly, I would enforce corrective action for anyone who does not abide by the new policies in place. The action will be as follows: a verbal coaching, secondly a written warning, and finally, termination. I would also include special programs that would assist those who seek professional help in quitting and benefit them for trying to live smoke free. Furthermore, to avoid discrimination, Redwood Associates should set policies and procedures that would not hurt their employee’s morale.
Suppose Darlene was sensitive to something else, such as body odor or someone’s perfume. Would she have a legitimate complaint? In this instance, perhaps, she is being overly sensitive. According to William H. Shaw, author of Business Ethics, screening people’s physical appearance or lifestyle would have employers wading “into morally troubling waters,” meaning that those issues are sensitive and should be handled with care. Body odor can be easily corrected without having to change company policies, but it is not on the same level as old smoke lingering in an office. The issue of being sensitive to perfume is a separate concern because if no one else is bothered by the perfume, then what gives the supervisor the right to tell somebody to change it? Therefore, unless it is a problem for more than one person nothing should be done about it.
There are companies today that have gone as far as prohibiting smoking in employee’s personal vehicles in the businesses parking lot. Some businesses are getting serious about getting employees to stop smoking. For example, Wal-Mart has introduced a voluntary program for its employees called the personal sustainability project, which teaches the benefits of things like the importance of being energy efficient and quitting smoking (Zupek, 2007). Also, a company in central Michigan began testing their employees for nicotine and issued warnings that they would be subject to random testing in the future, and failure could result in termination (Peters,...