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Firm Cracking Down On Non-Smoking Workers Taking "Smoke Breaks"
(email to a friend)

DETROIT, MI - At Lefrebue and Associates, a short email from Senior Partner Carson Lefrebue has set off what is likely to be a lengthy debate over employees' rights. The email says in part, "It is unacceptable for employees to take 'smoke breaks' for purposes other than smoking. For our non-smoking associates, specific time is set aside for one morning and one evening break. Smokers, who require smoke breaks at unpredictable times, may take several short breaks in lieu of the scheduled breaks for the purpose of smoking." Lefrebue, himself a chain smoker, reportedly sent the missive after overhearing one worker comment to another, "I don't smoke. Jogging is my 'smoke break'."

"This, I don't get," said one Lefrebue employee who asked not to be named, "I mean, itís ok to go turn dried plants into carcinogens and suck them into my lungs, but my company doesn't want me to take a brisk walk?"

"My email has received perhaps more attention than it deserved," responded Lefrebue, "but the spirit is essentially a reasonable one. They are called 'smoke breaks' because smokers need to take them. We offer some special services to our associates that have other disabilities. Why discriminate against those that require regular inhalation of nicotine to be productive?" When asked why non-smoking associates couldn't take, for instance, "walk breaks", Lefrebue replied, "That's something we could investigate. That would be new policy, and we're open to new policy. My email was meant to clarify what our existing policy was. But that's a good idea."

"Maybe I should drop a note in the 'Suggestion box', eh?" said one employee after hearing Lefrebue's comments, "I'm sure THAT would change things around here."

"This is exactly the kind of high-handed, idiotic abuse that non-union employees can expect," said AFL-CIO representative Mike Klein. "If this was a union shop, that email would never have been issued. If any employees of Lefrebue would like to talk to me about ways to fight this, I would be happy to talk with them."
(email to a friend)


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