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Unhealthy discrimination (From NIANKARA Amadou, Yadéga High School, Ouahigouya)

Arlène kurtz recently applied for a position as a clerk typist with the city of Nord Miami Florida. At the job interview, she was asked to sign a legal document affirming she had not smoked for 12 months. She said, “I can’t, I am a smoker.”

Although Kurtz knew the city had banned smoking on the job, she hadn’t heard about its new decision to employ only non smokers. “It is not their concern what you do away from work, on week-ends, or your vacation”, she says.

But a growing number of U.S employers say it their concern because such matters can affect the cost of healthy insurance (which is private in the U.S.A).

The Los Angeles fire department has ordered four employees to lose one kilo a month until they reach their desired weight. The four have taken the fire department to court arguing that they are being discriminated against because of their size.

A company in Atlanta prohibits its employees from participating in such “dangerous” activities as sky diving, motorcycling and mountain climbing.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is fighting back. It calls such rules and restrictions “life style discrimination”. Some states have responded by prohibiting employers from penalising workers who engage in legal activities outside work. Lewis Maltby of the A.C.L.U says “After 5 0’clock, our lives are our own”.


To apply for (a job) = faire une demande d’emploi
To ban = to forbid, to prohibit
Court = justice
To single out = distinguer, viser.

A = Guided commentary (14pts)

1) Why was Arlene Kurtz to sign a document affirming she had not smoked for 12 months at the job interview?
2) Why do the U.S employers support the signing of non smoker’s document before engaging employees?
3) What categories of workers are also confronted to job discrimination in this text?
4) Why is cigarette smoking dangerous? (6 – 8 lines)

B – Grammar: Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tenses. (3 pts)

1) Kathy usually (to sit) in the front row but today she (to sit) in the last row.
2) I (to write) a letter to my friend last week. He (not to answer) my letter yet.
3) He (to work) at the same store for ten years.
4) She taking her exam this term? No, she already (to take) it. She (to take) it last term.

C- Translate the following passage of the text into French

At the job employ only non smokers”.
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