Okla. Pol: Bosses Should Be Able to Ax Smokers

David Holt trying to repeal law protecting smokers
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2013 12:06 PM CST
Okla. Pol: Bosses Should Be Able to Ax Smokers

If you're a smoker who lives in Oklahoma, watch out: Your boss may soon be able to fire you for the unhealthy habit, if one state senator has his way. Oklahoma currently has a law prohibiting employers from discriminating against smokers, but State Sen. David Holt has introduced a new bill that would repeal that protection and allow employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, and medical coverage based on smoking habits.

"These are the kinds of protections you’d think we have for race and gender, not smokers," Holt tells KFOR. "Smokers cost [employers] money, particularly when they’re providing them medical benefits. ... Forcing employers to compensate or provide benefits to smokers at the exact same rates as they do their non-smoking employees [is] just not fair to employers." But, KFOR notes, the bill still needs to get through a committee before the Senate can vote on it, and an attorney predicts it will face quite a fight. (Read more David Holt stories.)

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