Letter: Legislation unfairly targets tobacco users

With so many people looking for jobs in this economy, it’s appalling that the Louisiana Legislature would consider a bill that has the potential to put countless hospital employees out of work.

Senate Bill 492 would create an exception to an existing anti-discrimination law that would allow hospitals and their affiliates to disqualify a job applicant or terminate an employee based on their personal use of tobacco outside the workplace.

Adult job applicants who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products in the privacy of their own home could be rejected from a position they are most qualified for. This bill would unfairly discriminate against adult tobacco consumers for their use of a product that is completely legal.

Adult tobacco consumers want to work and provide for their loved ones just like everyone else, and they certainly should have the right to make an honest living if they’re qualified for a particular position.

I hope our elected officials in Baton Rouge see the great harm that this bill would cause and the terrible precedent it sets for future legislation. They should reject Senate Bill 492.

Ernest Stephens

president Greater Baton Rouge AFL-CIO

Baton Rouge