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Author Topic: Ist he fired the smokers; now focus on the flabily
James
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posted 01 March 2005 09:55 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This morning on "The Current". The Michigan businessman who recently terminated employees for traces of nicotine in compulsory urine tests now has his sights trained on BMI readings. He claims they won't be terminated (federal Americans with Disabilities Act may prevent that), but he seems to be going the same route i.e. compulsory "re-education, etc.

The segment should start in about 5 min E.T.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: James ]


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 01 March 2005 10:05 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He may not be fat, but he is certainly a pig.

Moreover, I don't understand why alcohol addiction would be covered under the human rights act and not tobacco addiction; tobacco, if I recall, is the most addictive substance there is.

The whole thing strikes me as a gross human rights violation and an example of untrammelled corporate rule.

Many companies have taken positive steps to help their employees develop a healthier lifestyle (and yes, lower their insurance premiums and sick time lost, but so what). Some have cafeterias with healthy food choices and fitness facilities on site, and clinics to help employees quit smoking. Many workplaces, public and private, have employee help programmes for mental health, relationship and addiction problems. But that is a long way from this frigging nosy parker.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 10:07 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Anyone concerned about limiting employers' rights to specify terms of employment should know that federal law protects people with conditions like obesity, alcoholism and AIDS. But there's no right to indulge in tobacco," the news release said.

How interesting. Does anyone know whether that is true of U.S. law?

IANAL, but I find it hard to imagine that Canadian human-rights law would permit employment discrimination on any of those grounds, although if one's alcoholism interfered with ability to do the job, I can imagine some treatment programs being made a condition of employment.


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lagatta
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posted 01 March 2005 10:17 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, obviously in most companies (except, skdadl, some press rooms of yore ) one is not allowed to be drunk or stoned at work. And in some specific jobs one is not allowed to have ingested alcohol for more than 24 hours before - pilots, etc - because even being a bit hung over and distracted has a definite safety impact on a huge number of people. But that has nothing to do with telling adults what they can do on their own time. Frigging fascist.
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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 10:18 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Forgive me -- I'm listening right now -- we're talking Michigan and 29 other states.
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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 10:22 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Counsel for CCLA is on now. Nice man.
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James
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posted 01 March 2005 10:28 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He is speaking of the T.D. Bank case. When the topic arose, I was thinking back to the Imperial Oil litigation that came out of the Sarnia refinery a few years back.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: James ]


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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 10:36 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Martin Doan was his name?

Anyway, he said what many/most (?) of us would agree with politically, although I felt there was something inconclusive about his arguments. He described the current positions of the courts in Canada, which would answer the questions about health costs by balancing those against the weight given by our courts to human-rights considerations, like privacy, equality, and dignity. He also remarked that the American employer was assuming the much greater weight given rights of property (apparently) in Michigan.

One of the employees fired in Michigan talked about legislation now being prepared by a state [senator?] that would stop this kind of discrimination. She also mocked the employer's repeated claim that she had "made a choice." ("They're all adults; they chose smoking over their jobs.") She said, "Nonsense. I was fired."

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 01 March 2005 10:37 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sidebar: I once read of an interesting employee response to random workplace drug testing. He brought Hash Brownies to the company picnic.

I can't agree with giving people a drug without their consent, but it was a rather clever way to destroy the validity of the tests for many many months.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 01 March 2005 10:44 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, Magoo, if this disgusting dude has his way, one could then wreak similar havoc by bringing brownies made with transfatty acids to the picnic.
From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 01 March 2005 10:49 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is he outlawing trans fats at work too? Is he the NDP or something?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 01 March 2005 10:54 AM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Skdadl:

In reply to your question:

Heat Rises Over 'No Smokers Hired' Policy

quote:
According to Houston and several other employment attorneys, there have been no recent legal challenges to the no-smoking policies. Houston cited one 1987 case, a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld an employer's right to ban off-duty smoking.

In that case, a firefighter trainee sued the Oklahoma City Fire Department and city over a rule that prohibited smoking, on and off duty, for one year. The court found that the no-smoking rule had a legitimate purpose in promoting health and safety and did not violate due process. Grusendorf v. City of Oklahoma City, 816 F.2d 539 (10th Cir. 1987).

In the recent Michigan case, four Weyco employees have quit their jobs after refusing to take a tobacco test, according to Houston. He said the company announced the policy 15 months ago to its 200-plus employees, giving smokers more than a year's time to kick the habit before the Jan. 1 testing day. All employees have passed the test, Houston added.

But some lawyers remain skeptical about the new policy.

"My initial reaction was questioning whether that would be something that would pass muster in the courts, whether it would survive under the discrimination laws," said Lori Shapiro, general counsel and trainer for Employment Learning Innovations in Atlanta, a company that provides workplace legal training to help change employee behavior.

Shapiro, a former litigator in employment discrimination cases, said before the recent Michigan policy, she had never heard of a corporate ban on all smoking.

"It's a new one to me,"Shapiro said. "I'll be very curious to see if it does survive ... .I think it would be difficult to make an argument that someone's smoking off the job is influencing their performance on the job."



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James
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posted 01 March 2005 11:00 AM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To anyone who listened to "The Current" piece, I have to think what was aired must have been from the archives. Although the company's new "out with overweight" initiative was featured in the program promo, it wasn't mentioned at all in the three interviews.
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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 11:04 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As Mr [Doan?] said, there just seems to be no evidence that smoking affects job performance, so I assume that any debate, both in the U.S. and here, is going to be over health-care costs.

If Canada were to criminalize smoking, do you think I could make a refugee application to, oh, say, France? Or if things get hot there, the Czech Republic? Havel was a heroic smoker, after all ...


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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 11:05 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
PS: I noticed that too, James: no mention made of the new campaign about overwieght employees.
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jeff house
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posted 01 March 2005 01:39 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think there are two considerations which may be legitimate for an employer to take into account:

1) On-Site job performance

2) Whether the behaviour undermines the employer in some way.

For example re: # 2: If you work for Coca Cola, you could not also do an ad for Pepsi Cola in your spare time, claiming it's the best. etc.

In this case, I believe the employer is involved in health care in some manner. So the idea is that
a smoking employee severely undermines the "health" image of the company.

I remember being in Mexico and speaking with a bunch of health bureaucrats from some Ministry or other. They were all smoking. It made me doubt their commitment to public health overall.


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Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 01:49 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
I remember being in Mexico and speaking with a bunch of health bureaucrats from some Ministry or other. They were all smoking. It made me doubt their commitment to public health overall.

Why would you think that? Cigarette smoking is an addiction, and many people consider addictions to be illnesses or health afflictions. Would you consider people who outwardly display any other type of illness to be less committed to public health?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 01 March 2005 02:10 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would think that because smoking is not identical to being infected with a disease.

Presumably, those who suffer from a disease are doing everything they can to defeat it; in the Mexican case, no one claimed to be struggling unsuccessfully with an addiction.

Many people actually can stop smoking.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 01 March 2005 02:13 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Presumably, those who suffer from a disease are doing everything they can to defeat it;

Can you imagine telling someone with terminal cancer that you can cure them, but that they might feel some irritability, and they might crave something they can't have?

Can you imagine telling a quariplegic that they can run, and feel a hug, and have sex again, but they might lose their appetite for a while and have some restless sleep?

I'm betting they'd be on it so fast it would make your head spin.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 04:11 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ah, yes. Mental health: still the last frontier on babble.

Return with us again on babble to those thrilling days of yesteryear: bootstraps psychology rides again!


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Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 05:10 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh! I get it! I get it!

And here I thought James must have been vying for the half-awake typo king awards when he wrote that title.

Sorry, never mind, carry on.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 05:15 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle? Suddenly ... I don't get it.

(Didn't James make a typo?)


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scooter
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posted 01 March 2005 05:24 PM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the idea of "firing" the smokers. I had one job where the guy next to my cubicle went out for a smoke break every couple of hours. The guy stunk up the place something horrid.

What got me was he did it all on company time. I figure he wasted about a week each year standing outside and smoking.

I finally left after my new girlfriend, at the time, thought I was a smoker because I would bring home the guys B.O. by the end of the day.

Yeech!


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Contrarian
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posted 01 March 2005 05:28 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heehee; read the last four words of the title, skdadl.
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Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 05:30 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, he made one typo in the title, which is why it didn't occur to me until now that "flabily" was not also a typo.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 05:30 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I still don't get it.
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Mr. Magoo
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posted 01 March 2005 05:32 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Doesn't "Focus on the ----ily" make you think of anything? Pretend you're playing Wheel of Fortune. Buy a vowel.
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 05:33 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What is Wheel of Fortune?

Ok. I see. Sorry to have ruined the joke.


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Contrarian
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posted 01 March 2005 05:33 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Focus on the Flabily; hold your nose and say it.
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skdadl
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posted 01 March 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

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Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Contrarian:
Focus on the Flabily; hold your nose and say it.

I always do.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bernard W
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posted 01 March 2005 06:53 PM      Profile for Bernard W        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I would think that because smoking is not identical to being infected with a disease.
Presumably, those who suffer from a disease are doing everything they can to defeat it; in the Mexican case, no one claimed to be struggling unsuccessfully with an addiction.

Many people actually can stop smoking.


In Canada alone, there are 6.5 million former smokers. See it here.

As addictions go, it is not easy to quit, but it does not require superhuman powers either.

Edited to fix link that did not work.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Bernard W ]


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James
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posted 01 March 2005 07:18 PM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Focus on the Flabily; hold your nose and say it.

If you heard Weyers being interviewed, he sounds very much the "Focus/fucus" type.


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Michelle
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posted 01 March 2005 09:37 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
Presumably, those who suffer from a disease are doing everything they can to defeat it; in the Mexican case, no one claimed to be struggling unsuccessfully with an addiction.

Many people actually can stop smoking.


I see your point. However...I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't do SOMETHING unhealthy, or have SOME kind of unhealthy habit, whether it's eating stuff that's bad for you on occasion, smoking, etc. Unless you're willing to label almost everyone "uncommitted to public health" until they become perfect and completely cure themselves of all bad and unhealthy habits, then I think you have to accept the fact that imperfect people are going to do self-destructive things AND, paradoxically, still care about public health care.

P.S. I don't really think of addictions as "diseases" either. But many people do.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 01 March 2005 10:12 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really have a problem with this whole idea of an employer controlling off the job activities. OK, one might smoke only in the privacy of one's home, nevetheless, if one is forced as a condition of employment to take a test at your employer, one could not smoke at home without consequences.

But smoking is a legal activity. So is drinking but show up for work repeatedly drunk and/or smelling of alcohol and you'll be sacked. But what if you're just observed having a social drink after hours?

Now this guy wants to discriminate against people whose size he considers detrimental to the company. Where does this stop? When do we become nothing more than corporate property when we take a job? The ramifications long term to me a very scary.


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Amy
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posted 01 March 2005 10:28 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by scooter:
I like the idea of "firing" the smokers. I had one job where the guy next to my cubicle went out for a smoke break every couple of hours. The guy stunk up the place something horrid.

What got me was he did it all on company time. I figure he wasted about a week each year standing outside and smoking.

I finally left after my new girlfriend, at the time, thought I was a smoker because I would bring home the guys B.O. by the end of the day.

Yeech!


That is not what this is about.

This is about firing someone for something they do on their own time. I didn't really like it much when my co-workers would get twice as many breaks as I did because I don't smoke, but saving the company some money in wages is not what this guy, testing for traces of nicotine, is looking to do.

quote:
Unless you're willing to label almost everyone "uncommitted to public health" until they become perfect and completely cure themselves of all bad and unhealthy habits, then I think you have to accept the fact that imperfect people are going to do self-destructive things AND, paradoxically, still care about public health care.

WooHoo! This is exactly what I was hoping to hear in this thread. I am often on the receiving end of big rants, due to my leftiness, about how the former NDP minister of health smoked. This is a great way to respond, thanks!


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 01 March 2005 10:39 PM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
E.A., quite apart from hunan rights legistlation and protections, there is a real common-law divergence in employment law between "us and youse".

U.S. common law has wholeheartedly embraced the "employment at will" paradigm, which means, essentiaaly, "i like ya so long as I like ya; when I don't no more, have a nice life".

Canadian employment law has devekoped along a different path; that of contract, and the "reading-in" of generally understood terms. Among those implied terms are "fair evaluation", "progressivive discipline", and "reasoable notice"

Perhaps most important here, though, is the implied term that termination can be only "for cause". "Cause" is judicially defined and is seemingly always in a state of flux, but very clearly cannot include activities during off-hours unless they obviously and seriously reflect on the character of the employer.


From: Windsor; ON | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
James
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posted 01 March 2005 11:08 PM      Profile for James        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To be more explicit, and to highlightthe difference - in this country, the minute the first memo came out re: mandatory drug testing (and this is quite apart from any human rights or other legislation; every employee could walk, based on "constructive dismisal". (unilateral shange of the terms of the contract)

The employer would be responsible for their wages, benefits, etc until they found comparable replacement employment, or for a period of time the court considered "reasonable notice" in the circumstances.


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Fidel
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posted 01 March 2005 11:35 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Smokers, ethnics, what's the diff ?.

[ 01 March 2005: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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