By: Jacob Barrett
During the course of what I do as Director of Development for Kentucky Equality Federation, I thought maybe we should build a coalition with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Once I got to their page I looked a plaque that has the protected classes under Kentucky law (includes Kentucky Acts, Revised Statues, Administrative Relations, and Executive Orders).
Now you all know what the common ones are, but to my utter amazement smoking is a protected class in Kentucky. Smoking is clearly a choice. Being gay is not, but even if you believe it is, why is it not a protected class in Kentucky since something as trivial as smoking is?
In Kentucky, being LGBT makes you a second class citizen! We are not protected for we are, but on the up side, you’re protected if you smoke! This should make everyone realize just how far down the “food chain” LGBT people are in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
In Kentucky, the commonwealth will not protect you, and it is perfectly legal for your employer to fire you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity……so, if you’re LGBT and you’re gonna get fired, just say, “Hey wait! I’m a smoker! Wanna go have a cigarette with me?”
In Kentucky, we have a long, long, LONG way to go!
KRS 344.040 Discrimination by employers.
It is an unlawful practice for an employer:
(1) To fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of the individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age forty (40) and over, because the person is a qualified individual with a disability, or because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking;
(2) To limit, segregate, or classify employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect status as an employee, because of the individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or age forty (40) and over, because the person is a qualified individual with a disability, or because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking; or
(3) To require as a condition of employment that any employee or applicant for employment abstain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of employment, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking.