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Cop fired for smoking a cigarette!


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  • Cop fired for smoking a cigarette!

    Not ten minutes ago on the local FOX station...a Fall River(?) Massachusetts LEO was fired for smoking a cigarette...OFF DUTY...reported by an ANONYMOUS letter. [Eek!]

    Apparently mASSachusetts has adopted a "heart and lungs"(?) law which bans LEOs and firemen from smoking...ever. That includes off duty.

    Granted, the cop in question signed a contract, but come on...if you can meet any physical standard they want to hand to you, what bussiness does the state have in whether or not you smoke??

    This reminds me...I need to contact my local rep about that electricified fence on the border...I don't want that crap spreading...


    [ 06-22-2003, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: Lictalon ]
    I haven't felt this good since we stole the 2000 elections!--Ned Flanders

  • #2
    Reported by an ANONYMOUS letter!!??
    Sounds like one of those "I'll get even with that SOB" tactics.
    " Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words." - Calvin


    • #3
      My department has the same rule. We can not use any tobacco products on or off duty. It doesn't bother me one bit.

      I think being fired for violating the rule is a bit drastic. A written reprimand would have been sufficient.


      • #4
        In my Florida department, it was forbidden for officers to smoke WHILE OUT ON A CALL, but THIS is NUTZ.....AND I DON'T SMOKE!
        "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
        -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


        • #5
          I'm sure they think they're saving money on their health insurance by not allowing any tobacco use, but how much money did they spend training this officer only to throw him away over an anonymous letter? I hope he gets a better paying job in a place that still values freedom.

          "Bones heal. Chicks dig scars. And the United States of America has the best doctor-to-daredevil ratio in the world!" -- Captain Lance Murdoch, The Simpsons


          • #6
            I have to believe there's more to this story than the story told. A good chief will excercise some discretion in the application of a rule such as this. If the guy was a good cop and a valuable part of the department, they would have found a way to keep him.
            Caution and worry never accomplished anything.


            • #7
              what's next?

              officer fired for eating pork rinds off duty.

              officer fired for having sex without a condom off duty.

              officer fired for drinking beer off duty.

              [ 06-23-2003, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: nickg ]
              I'll post, You argue.


              • #8
                The only issue I have on this was the anonymous letter about the officer smoking off-duty. Someone had it out for this guy and I'm assuming this officer has smoked cigarettes in the past.

                I have NO sympathy for him if he was observed smoking. He absolutely knew that he was prohibited from smoking and he did so anyways. He signed a document banning him from smoking, he should have been aware that if he was caught he be terminated.

                Personally I cant stand working with someone who smokes, it's a disgusting habit, and why should I be forced to breath that **** in.
                "are you going to bark all day little doggie or are you going to bite"


                • #9
                  I would never take action against an employee based on an anonymous letter. If someone doesn't have the guts to put their name on a complaint, why should I allow them to dictate what happens to someone else?
                  We do not all come to religion over the wandering years,
                  but sooner or later we all get to meet God. -- Edward Conlon


                  • #10
                    I detest smoking, but it is none of my business what others do to their body....BUT, rules are rules. I think it is a silly rule and I agree with the Chaplain about the anonymous letter. Sounds like someone just wanted to be a tattle-tale and I would bet money that this L.E. angered the tattler in some way.
                    Instead of punishing these fellows, why don't they have some seminar of sorts to help the smokers stop, so they dont get in trouble when they sneak a cig. It is cheaper than firing L.E's and training new ones...I would think.
                    "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas."
                    Davy Crockett


                    • #11
                      This brings up several interesting issues.

                      1) This was not a breach of contract. The smoking of the cigarette was, according to the article, illegal. The state reportedly has a LAW precluding public safety officials from smoking.

                      2) Since the officer was a "seven year veteran", we can assume that he had tenure and was not terminated under any sort of probationary agreement. This brings in all sorts of property issues. The articles indicates that an "an internal investigation proved he had been smoking tobacco products during his tenure with the department". According to local laws and employment policies, I wonder what thier other due process rights were prior to termination.

                      Is this law constitutional?
                      Is it a criminal violation?
                      Or, does the law merely establish public policy?
                      Was the officer adjudicated guilty by an appropriate trier of fact prior to being terminated?

                      The whole idea of this being a state law is what gets me hinked up. If it was part of an employment agreement, that is one issue. But this was a matter of state law. What is the burden of proof? Who is the trier of fact? What are your due process rights? What are your right during questioning? How do you appeal?

                      Very strange.... all over a wellness program?

                      I officially cry "SHENNANIGANS!"

                      How can you say that terminating an officer is somehow healthier for them? "We fired him for his own good health?"

                      Yeah.. so now he is an unemployed and uninsured smoker! Way to take care of your people! Way to take care of someone who volunteered in advance to risk life and serious injury to protect the public!

                      This is about some level of government saving money. And I will bet that the area/department that saves money on lower insurance premiums is NOT the same one that loses money in the assessment, selection, and training of a new officer.

                      Also.. if the law can mandate this for employees who are insured.. are employees able to "opt out" of the insurance? Or pay additional premiums in a special rider? What about spouses and family? Are covered employees also prohibited from living with someone who smokes and thus being exposed to second-hand smoke?

                      What about other risk factors such as periodontitis (gun disease) which has been linked to heart disease and other serious illnesses?

                      What's next, they fire you if they find out you haven't been flossing?

                      [ 06-23-2003, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Sparky ]


                      • #12
                        I don't smoke but it sounds like a stupid law to me. I have to wonder about some of the other things mentioned previously, like drinking beer, eating pork rinds, & even the having sex off-duty.
                        I thought it's pretty standard to find that an employee has a drinking problem to send him to counseling & stuff. I guess there is no counseling for cigarette addiction? Couldn't they just buy the guy some patches or something? Sounds like a bum deal on face value.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chaplain Keppy:
                          I would never take action against an employee based on an anonymous letter. If someone doesn't have the guts to put their name on a complaint, why should I allow them to dictate what happens to someone else?

                          My dept. will not investigate anonymous complaints. Don't we all have the right to face our accuser. I thought that was a guarantee via Garrety rights? I don't remember.
                          Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.


                          • #14
                            Has their law prohibiting employees from using legal (outside their little town's rules) substances withstood review by the courts, especially the Supreme Court? How can they make it law that employees cannot smoke? PC run amok.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


                            • #15
                              Many police and fire dept's in Florida adopted such regulations in recent years. It applies only to those hired under the "new no smoking rule" and it is part of their employment agreement. As to an annonomous letter reporting it, probably the officer was called in, as a result of the letter and asked whether the allegation was true. Apparently it was. Unfortunately, every now and then someone bends (or breaks) the rules and gets made the latest example, for all to see, of why it shouldn't be done. RW


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