CTV.ca | Rights group blasts 'non-smoker' stipulation for job
MONTREAL -- The job requirements are on par with what would be expected for any company looking for a webmaster, with one notable exception: smokers need not apply.
And a Quebec group that defends the rights of smokers is fuming over the job posting by an anti-smoking organization, calling it discriminatory.
Arminda Mota, president of mychoice.ca, a website dedicated to smokers' rights, says the advertisement that says the successful applicant must be either a non-smoker or an ex-smoker opens the doors to all sorts of discrimination by employers.
"They get at least $3 million a year from the government - from taxpayers who are non-smokers, and smokers like me and they are openly discriminating," Mota said Wednesday.
"Even if you're a non-smoker, can you agree with this? What's next? You're not able to apply if you're over 150 pounds?"
Mota said the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health is essentially promoting discrimination using taxpayer dollars.
But council president Mario Bujold says his organization is well within its rights to hire a non-smoker given its mandate.
"We are a non-profit organization that does work to prevent smoking and that's why we ask our employees to be non-smokers or ex-smokers," said Bujold.
"We promote activities to reduce smoking so we want to set good examples."
Bujold said his organization employs a dozen people and some, including himself, are ex-smokers.
Bujold said the stipulation doesn't violate any charter rights.
Mota said the non-smoking requirement is rarely asked for by employers in Canada but is gaining steam in the United States.
"It's not the smoking issue itself - it's the fact that public health is starting to dictate behaviour and everyone thinks what they're doing is OK," said Mota.
"For now it's just smokers - but I don't want to live in a society where what I put in my body is dictated by government."
Mota said most of her employees in the past have been non-smokers and it has had no bearing on the work they do.
"What you do, it's none of my business as the employer," Mota said.
The Quebec Human Rights Commission says it hasn't yet dealt with a similar complaint and a spokesman says he isn't sure it would constitute discrimination because smoking isn't spelled out in the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Spokesman Robert Sylvestre said Sec. 10 of the charter forbids discrimination on the basis of a number of conditions from race and sex to political convictions and language.
But smoking is not one of them.
Sylvestre said some people in other provinces have attempted to argue that someone with alcohol and drug dependency is akin to being handicapped.
But no one has attempted that with smoking, Sylvestre said.
How about the fact that all but 3 people in the company I work for, which employs a few dozen people, don't smoke. The rest of us do..... so based on that mentality, if things went down the road this very could lead to, all but three people in this company wouldn't be allowed to work.
And did it ever occur to anybody that a good chunk of the reason why adults start up smoking later on in life might have to do with stressful jobs?
Can anybody actually picture an entire society where the only people who actually work are all non-smokers?
Isn't that sort of an oxymoron?
And last I checked, smoking is still god damn legal to do! They have no right to dictate if someone is qualified for the job based on if they smoke or not, regardless if they're a company to prevent smoking.
^ Maybe some of those people have a little more insight on what goes through the mind of smokers? Maybe they want to quit and could use the employment there to do so? Maybe those people who smoke won't smoke during their whole time they're working and wait until they go home?
I know a few people who do that. Not because their job looks down apon smoking, but because they choose to.
Seriously, what's next? If I'm left handed, with red hair, freckles and still watch cartoons I won't be allowed to get a job?