Minnesota woman claims she was fired for smelling like cigarette smoke

A Minnesota woman is claiming discrimination after she was reportedly fired from her job as a hospital receptionist because she smelled like cigarette smoke.

Stephanie Cannon, of Fridley, Minn., a smoker for 18 years, claims she never lit up on the premises of Park Nicollet Health Services, where she worked as a medical receptionist, KSTP-TV reported.

Cannon, who started the position only six weeks ago, told the station that she always followed the hospital's clearly-stated "no smoking" policy.

"There were never any performance issues at all," Cannon said.

But the woman says she was told by supervisors that her smell was a problem, claiming other staff advised her to shower at the hospital and avoid her husband -- who also smokes -- before coming to work in the morning.

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"I stopped smoking on my breaks, I wouldn't smoke in my car, I bought new clothes," Cannon told the station.

Cannon said she was fired last week by hospital managers who she claims said, "We have to let you go" over the smell.

"She as a receptionist really had nothing to do with the hands-on health care," Smokers' Rights Advocate Mark Wernimont told the station. "It's just one more nail in the coffin of freedom."

But others, like Chuck Samuelson of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that "your rights as a a smoker end where other people's noses begin."

"In fact you can make the argument that your rights as a smoker end when other people breathe in the air that comes off of you," he told KSTP.

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