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Bill would allow Kentucky employers to fire, refuse to hire smokers

If a proposed bill passes, employees could fire or not hire people who smoke. | Photo by Ferran Jorda

By Maytal Levi, Fox19
For The Kentucky Enquirer

A bill in the Kentucky’s Senate would allow employers to discriminate against cigarette smokers. Even if you smoke off the clock, employers could choose not to hire you just because you’re a tobacco user.

The measure was pre-filed by Republican Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel from northern Kentucky this week.

“We only have several protected classes in Kentucky: gender, age, religious preference and it makes no sense for a smoker to be a protected class,” he said.

Covington resident Mark Borison says the bill would set a bad precedent.

“Of course, what’s the next thing they’re going to come after you for?” he said.

Borison is not a smoker but believes the bill is “unnecessarily restrictive for no reason.”

Another Covington resident, Kevin Emerson, has been a smoker for 15 years. He says he should be able to do what he wants as long as it’s legal during his off-time. Emerson also believes if the bill passes the unemployment rate would increase.

“I can’t even imagine what the figures would be,” he said.

The bill is in the Senate and still has to be passed there before it’s voted on in the House.

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