Non-Smoker Firing Story a Fake

January 16, 2008 ( - That German company that claimed to have fired non-smokers for stirring up trouble? Just kidding.

It had the ring of an “urban legend”, but it stood out as an interesting contrast at a time when a number of employers have taken controversial stands on worker behaviors – stands that have extended to behaviors that occur outside the workplace.

Reuters is reporting that the Hamburger Morgenpost – a German newspaper that reported a story about a 10-person IT firm that fired a trio of non-smokers last week (see Non-Smokers Fired by German Company ) – was hoaxed by a pro-smoking manager.

According to Reuters, Stephanie Lamprecht, a journalist at the Hamburger Morgenpost, said Thomas Joschko first told her he had fired the three from his 10-person staff because they were causing a disruption with their non-smoking – but later admitted it was a hoax. “He said it was a joke and worth the trouble. He said he’s a chain-smoker himself and said he was tired of smokers being hassled so much,” Lamprecht said, according to Reuters. “He said he was on a pro-smoker mission,” said Lamprecht.

The Morgenpost plans to publish an updated version of the story in its Wednesday edition.