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The State : Payroll Ban on Smokers Fails

A controversial proposal to ban smokers from Sunnyvale’s city payroll was rejected by a narrow margin because of concerns over invasion of privacy and discrimination. The City Council voted 4 to 3 against the proposal, which is similar to a Massachusetts law. Under the Massachusetts law, police officers and firefighters face dismissal if they smoke--even off the job. Union officials and tobacco activists promised a court challenge when and if the new law is first enforced. The prospects of facing a court battle were also cited by the majority on the Sunnyvale council. The rejected ordinance would have prohibited the city from hiring smokers. It would not apply to current employees. “This is nothing that has to do with the job or the ability to perform,” Councilman Rich Napier, a nonsmoker, said. “It is not right to reach into the privacy of one’s home and say, ‘You cannot smoke.’ ”


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