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German Boss Fires Employees For Not Smoking

Utterly Ridiculous: Workers Fired For Not Smoking

Yes, you read that correctly. Three workers at a German computer company were fired because they requested a non-smoking work environment. The trio, who made up about a third of the small ten person company, apparently caused enough of a stir that the boss kicked their non-smoking butts to the curb.

The boss, named Thomas J., seemed to have no regrets about his decision and explained his position when he said, "I can't be bothered with trouble-makers. We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on."

What would you call this type of discrimination — Smoke-ism?

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Astro_nerd Astro_nerd 7 years
Lol Neural.
lindsz lindsz 7 years
bleh, maybe the boss didnt have to go so far as to fire the workers...but seriously, this argument is so drawn out, i hate smokers, i hate non smokers, blah blah blah, please.
Skeeve Skeeve 8 years
Let's see:Small company [10 workers, per article] - possibility that usual "big company" legal protocols do not apply.Germany is in Europe, and smoking is *much* more common across the Pond [altho' a lot has changed since I was there 20 years ago! Heck, even *France* has smoking controls [went into effect 1/1/08] in their cafes now! But that's public, vs. a private company.The boss smokes, and the office minority complains about it. You be the boss: "What to do, what to do? Hmmm, programmers are a dime a dozen: how about I just find some smokers who'll be *happy* in this unconventional environment?"I hate tobacco smoke more than most, but seriously, I don't see that this boss had much choice. Small firms are frequently scrambling just to survive, and agitators in such companies are quickly shown the door. Is it right? No. It's just the way it is. The terminated employees will just have to go find a job in a bigger company [& put up w/ a longer commute, most likely] that doesn't allow smoking indoors. C'est la vie...
Skeeve Skeeve 8 years
Let's see: Small company [10 workers, per article] - possibility that usual "big company" legal protocols do not apply. Germany is in Europe, and smoking is *much* more common across the Pond [altho' a lot has changed since I was there 20 years ago! Heck, even *France* has smoking controls [went into effect 1/1/08] in their cafes now! But that's public, vs. a private company. The boss smokes, and the office minority complains about it. You be the boss: "What to do, what to do? Hmmm, programmers are a dime a dozen: how about I just find some smokers who'll be *happy* in this unconventional environment?" I hate tobacco smoke more than most, but seriously, I don't see that this boss had much choice. Small firms are frequently scrambling just to survive, and agitators in such companies are quickly shown the door. Is it right? No. It's just the way it is. The terminated employees will just have to go find a job in a bigger company [& put up w/ a longer commute, most likely] that doesn't allow smoking indoors. C'est la vie...
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
Do people smoke as much as they used to? Seems like it's not fashionable these days to start smoking.
Lil-Maw Lil-Maw 8 years
Finding a job isn't always the easiest thing for people, so I don't think it's fair to say they could just quit. And I don't blame them for not wanting to be exposed to second-hand smoke. I guess it just seems bizarre to me because I live in a city where every place you go is a smoke free environtment by law. And being an asthmatic I prefer it that way.
Dixie-Theychangedit Dixie-Theychangedit 8 years
I'd like to fire my employees who gripe about wanting a raise, but I can't. It's the after-holiday slowdown. They are lucky to have a job.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 8 years
It's not really discrimination, but ... given the anti-smoking laws going up around the EU lately, is this the best thing for the boss to do? Why not encourage the other workers to stop smoking? It would be better for everyone (including the boss!)
cassedy04 cassedy04 8 years
i agree, it's a bit of a rough spin. but for the boss to declare revenge and saying that he's only going to hire smokers? thats a bit extreme. he'll be sorry when he's missing half of his workforce because theyre all out getting cancer treatments.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
I worked toy show in Germany a few years back and smoking and drinking were totally allowed. It was a bit surreal...I'm there selling active kid toys and a TON of people are chain-smoking away (every booth was equipped with ashtrays!). Also, the booth directly across from us was giving away beer every hour and the one behind us actually had 4 taps. Needless to say it was strangest show I've ever worked. I LOVE THOSE WACKY GERMANS!!!!!
Neural Neural 8 years
Perhaps they should start drinking at work, too. That'd make the day fly by!
highclassjunkie highclassjunkie 8 years
Lol this is the most ridiculous thing ive ever heard. clearly we dont know all the facts, but from what's reported here its clear that the head of the company just couldnt be bothered to take into account the simple request of his employees, those who are putting themselves out to do work for HIM. This is just bad business, and a foolish way to run a company. On the other hand, the 3 are fault also for choosing to stay so long at that company. Clearly, had they known about the smoking policy before that might have chosen not to work there. All and all, smoking inside is disgusting and a hazard to the health of his employees, others who enter the office, and a safety hazard, as they most likely disabled the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in able to proceed with their habit. Very unprofessional, and i hope he gets sued.
nola45 nola45 8 years
In a small company, the boss can do anything (legal) that he or she wants. Obviously smoking in the workplace is legal in Germany. I sympathesize with the workers, but consider a situation in which employees were permitted to play music (without earphones) at their desks while working (this is common in many places). If you found it distracting and complained, but everyone else liked it, you might be considered a "trouble maker". And the boss could fire you if you make trouble. And he probably would if you continued to make a fuss and if he liked to play music aloud himself. Is it right to require workers to work in an atmosphere that is injurious to your health? No, of course not. Is it legal ("discrimination" of various sorts are illegal here) in Germany? Apparently yes.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 8 years
that's just ridiculous!!! a work environment is supposed to be a comfortable environment for all. hopefully these fired employees can find a safe environment in which to voice their opinions at a different job.
PinkBlast PinkBlast 8 years
Reading articles like this make me appreciate living in Australia gosh!
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I agree that it's not really "discrimination" to fire people who are "threatening to disturb the peace" and the boss has the right to run his privately owned business however he sees fit. I would like to point out that from the article alone, there's no way to tell whether the employees knew what kind of environment they were getting into when they agreed to the job. Nevertheless, it's true that they could have better put their efforts into looking for employment elsewhere instead of trying to change the majority rule in a tiny company they do not own. However, it's obvious from the "revenge" comment that the boss is a small-minded dumbass. Also, the statement of "I'm only going to hire smokers from now on" [i]could[/i] possibly get him in trouble for discrimination. I think he's within his rights to hire whoever he wants, but come on, keep your trap shut - if you're going to avoid hiring certain people, don't brag about how you're sticking it to them. I don't know if it can actually get him trouble under German law, but it's pretty tacky anyway. Oh well, it's only a matter of time before someone like that does something stupid that gets him in deep trouble and takes the company down with him. Those workers are better off not working for him.
desertbanshee desertbanshee 8 years
Until the boss drops over dead from lung cancer and the 3 employees come take over the company.
bhamm bhamm 8 years
So, basically what most of you are saying is that it's the people's own fault for being in the minority and we should NEVER change anything for a minority group that would cause a problem to the majority? Wow. This is why our society is as screwed up as it is. They didn't get fired for smoking, they got fired for being in the minority. That's even worse! So if many German offices allow smoking what are these workers supposed to do? Is there no compromise?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
In reading the actual in story on Abcnews.com it says that in German in small offices people are allowed to smoke. So it seems that the Employer was within his right to terminate the employees he felt didn't fit in to his business environment. Did the three workers have an agenda - yes. Unfortunately for them it backfired at that job. Did the employer have and agenda - yes. And he succeeded for now, says he'll hire workers that aren't bothered by smoking or also smoke. Oh well, anyone learn anything? People don't like being told what to do - or being told to roll over and it up the bum.
gtrswede gtrswede 8 years
coming from someone who's from Europe, don't make it sound like Europe has archaic laws and "wrongful termination" doesn't exist. countries like Germany, France, Sweden, England, etc. actually have stricter laws when it comes to getting fired. workers get better benefits, i could go on. the point of this is that i agree with most of the people here-if everyone at the job smokes, when you go for your interview, just say no. would you apply for a job as a scyscraper window washer if you couldn't stand heights?!
Marci Marci 8 years
It's a small company in a country where the laws are obviously different. But the point here in my view is that those people took the job at the company where the smoking was going on in the first place. So they willingly took themselves into that environment. If, after awhile, they didn't like being amidst the smokers, then that's their cue to leave, because the job they signed on for was one with smoking allowed.
bandages bandages 8 years
I think that this was unfairly spun. They don't have to work there, and it should be the boss' choice how he runs his business. I hate smoking, but I have no right to tell other people that they need to live and run their businesses the way I would.
Princess-Peach Princess-Peach 8 years
Is that guy stupid? How can a boss say that?! That's totally ridiculous to speak about a revenge on non-smokers ! I agree with omilawd, he sounds like an immature person.
JennaV JennaV 8 years
"We're on the phone all the time and it is just easier to work while smoking" :oy:
omilawd omilawd 8 years
Oh, I don't like the boss' little "revenge" comment, though. It makes him sound like an immature person himself.
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