A complaint that a no-smoking policy for rookie firemen violates constitutional rights has gone up in smoke following a ruling by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Luther Eubanks has dismissed a case filed by rookie fireman Greg Grusendorf, who was fired after being caught smoking a cigarette during his lunch break.
Grusendorf's lawsuit was filed against the City of Oklahoma City, Fire Chief Jimmy Catledge, assistant chief Paul Benson and John Parasich, assistant training officer.
Grusendorf said in his suit that the city violated his constitutional right to privacy by regulating his conduct while off duty, and his right to liberty because the conduct rule is "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion without rational basis or governmental interest."
His lawsuit said he had the right to smoke when off-duty and to be "free from unwarranted governmental intrusion."
Eubanks said in his ruling that Grusendorf "voluntarily accepted employment with the city with full knowledge that he would be required not to smoke" during his one-year probation.
The no-smoking policy is new and Grusendorf's recruit class was the first required to sign an affidavit stating that members would not smoke for one year.
The policy was adopted as an effort to save taxpayers' money, City Manager Scott Johnson said.
"That no-smoking rule for fire recruits is based on our opinion _and the opinion of most other cities and fire department officials _that smoking by a firefighter might contribute to respiratory diseases frequently cited by firefighters" when applying for disability benefits, he said. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 228947