[Author's Note: at no time during this series centering on Discrimination will I ever suggest or condone discrimination of anyone based on race, gender, nationality, religion, etc, etc.]
On February 7th, 2011, President Obama spoke to the Chamber of Commerce. One of the statements that he made in that speech was
"I understand the challenges you face. I understand that you're under incredible pressure to cut costs and keep your margins up. I understand the significance of your obligations to your shareholders. I get it. But as we work with you to make America a better place to do business, ask yourselves what you can do for America. Ask yourselves what you can do to hire American workers, to support the American economy, and to invest in this nation. That's what I want to talk about today - the responsibilities we all have to secure the future we all share."
What I'm hearing from Business Leaders all over the United States is, "I want to hire US workers but their costs are too high for me if I end up hiring people who aren't productive enough."
During the course of this series on Discrimination I'm going to say some things you won't agree with, may take offense with and that will border on legality. However, until employers ARE allowed to "discriminate" based on these things, the value of the US Worker will continue to decline (on average) and the fiduciary pressure to hire off-shore talent will be greater. I've chosen to focus my efforts on the characteristics of American Workers that reduce PRODUCTIVITY.
Part 1: SMOKING
Maryland-based Scotts Miracle-Gro, in March 2006, issued a new policy stating that they will not hire people who smoke on or off the job, and will seek to eliminate smoking in its existing work force.
Shortly after that they were sued for wrongful termination after a recently hired worker (Rodrigues) tested positive for nicotine. He had been on the job for 2 weeks. In December 2009 Scotts won the legal battle (in Massachusetts, no less).
Rodrigues’s lawyer, Harvey A. Schwartz of Boston, said he is appealing the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He characterized the firing as an extraordinary example of a company meddling in an employee’s private life in an attempt to promote healthy habits and drive down an employer’s healthcare costs.
Scotts was on the very bleeding edge of a new movement by employers to "discriminate" in the application process by making smoking an automatic disqualifier.
What justification did Scotts have for putting a ban like this in place?
In closing and in defense of discrimination (especially based on the above facts): it is my opinion that smokers should absolutely be considered inferior to non-smokers if the skill sets are on an equal level. If America is going to become competitive again in the global marketplace, employers shouldn't be scared of discriminating based on this vice of prospective employees.