Workplaces ban not only smoking, but smokers themselves

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by quest7, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. quest7 macrumors member

    quest7

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    #1
    An increasing number of employers won't hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether from cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches.

    More job-seekers are facing an added requirement: no smoking — at work or anytime.

    As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers —primarily hospitals —are also imposing bans on smokers. They won't hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches.

    Such tobacco-free hiring policies, designed to promote health and reduce insurance premiums, took effect this month at the Baylor Health Care System in Texas and will apply at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio, when it opens this year.

    "We have to walk the walk if we talk the talk," says Dave Fotsch of Idaho's Central District Health Department, which voted last month to stop hiring smokers.

    Each year, smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 premature deaths and costs the nation $193 billion in health bills and lost productivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says 19.3% of U.S. adults smoked last year, down from 42.4% in 1965.

    "We're trying to promote a complete culture of wellness," says Marcy Marshall of the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., which begins its nicotine-free hiring next month. "We're not denying smokers their right to tobacco products. We're just choosing not to hire them."

    The policies stir outrage, even in the public health community.

    "These policies represent employment discrimination. It's a very dangerous precedent," says Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University's School of Public Health. He says the restrictions punish smokers rather than helping them quit.

    "What's next? Are you not going to hire overly-caffeinated people?" asks Nate Shelman, a smoker and Boise's KBOI radio talk show host whose listeners debated the topic last month. "I'm tired of people seeing smokers as an easy piñata."

    After several companies, including Alaska Airlines, adopted smoker-hiring bans a couple of decades ago, the tobacco industry and the American Civil Liberties Union lobbied for smoker rights. As a result, 29 states and the District of Columbia passed smoker-protection laws.

    Some laws exempt non-profit groups and the health care industry, and 21 states have no rules against nicotine-free hiring.

    Federal laws allow nicotine-free hiring because they don't recognize smokers as a protected class, says Chris Kuzynski with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    There's no data on how many U.S. businesses won't hire smokers, but the trend appears strongest with hospitals, says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a non-profit offshoot of the ACLU that opposes the hiring bans.

    Many of the new policies expand on smoke-free workplace rules. At Bon Secours Virginia Health System, more than 300 employees have kicked the habit since its campuses went smoke-free in 2009, and one applicant did so since it began nicotine-free hiring Nov. 30, says administrative director Kim Coleman.

    The bottom line will benefit because health care costs for tobacco users are $3,000 to $4,000 more each year than for non-smokers, says Bon Secours' Cindy Stutts. "There's also an impact on productivity," she says, because smokers take more breaks.

    Paul Billings of the American Lung Association says he's seen no data that prove nicotine-free hiring gets people to quit. He says cessation programs are a better bet. Still, his group won't hire smokers: "We're non-smoking exemplars."

    http://m.usatoday.com/article/yourlife/52394782

    I think this is going too far.
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #2
    Wow, just wow. :D

    This thread is destined to travel to the country of PRSI.
     
  3. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #3
    I don't care if people want to smoke in the privacy of their own homes, but I can see why some businesses would want to do this. And I see no problem with discriminating against people who choose to do something like smoke.
     
  4. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Yes, it's going to far.
    But no, the government should NOT get involved.

    As a private business, they should be able to do what they want to do.
    As long as nobody gets physically hurt, they can hire or fire whomever they want. If they want to make stupid hiring decisions, so be it.
    If they only want to hire gay midgets, fine.

    If a company gets too ridiculous, they will find that their pool of potential new hires shrinks so much that it will hurt their business.

    -t
     
  5. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #5
    I can't stand second hand smoke either. I smoke 2 packs a day...second hand.:rolleyes: There are "no smoking" signs plastered everywhere in the building, but that doesn't stop them.:mad: Heck, most of them smoke in front of the signs.:eek:

    As long as da Gob'ment doesn't step in and banned the policy of banning smokers, I'm cool with it. Hail, I wish my company would ban smoking (officially it does, but in reality it doesn't), but that ain't gonna happen. The boss is a smoker.:(
     
  6. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #6
    This is all the justification an employer needs.
     
  7. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    #7
    The problem also seems to be that employers have to pay a higher insurance premium for smoker employees.

    Regarding the smoking problem in your building, get yourself a lawyer and sue them. Or present a complain to the health department or similar government organization.

    On the contrary, being without a job and broke may encourage them to quit much faster. And will save their lives too, as their risk for cancer will diminish. Now, someone please explain to me why that idiot "professor" who's supposed to be smart is saying that this measure is a punishment?
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #8
    The issue, to my mind, is not whether companies are banning smokers or not. It's that they are being allowed to not hire (and to fire) based on something that has a) nothing to do with actually doing the job, and b) perfectly legal to do on your own time.

    Of course the government needs to get involved.... companies don't care about human rights.

    Other activities that could then become the basis for not hiring, or firing, someone:
    a) Drinking. Even having a few beers with "the guys" while watching a hockey game can have negative health consequences.
    b) Having too much cholesterol in your system. That pizza you had with those beers on the weekend could become a firing offence.
    c) Being left-handed. It is a proven statistic that left-handed people have more work-place accidents. Costs that an employer must absorb. So, you lefties... prepare to switch hands, or defend your right to work.
    d) Getting pregnant. Costs the company money, and yet is perfectly legal. It was not that long ago that female teachers would, legally, have to take a leave of absence (unpaid, of course) when they started to show their bump.

    Are we heading back down this road? I thought we had gotten past all of these demeaning ways to discriminate against people.
     
  9. Vizin, Jan 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  10. soco macrumors 68030

    soco

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    #10
    Look, I don't agree with those, but this is different. I don't want their poisonous smoke in my lungs.

    If the government won't ban the purely self-destructive behavior, I'll support my employer banning those who support it or bring it to work.
     
  11. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #11
    But the OP isn't about smoking at work. It's about companies not hiring people who smoke at all. If they only smoke at home or away from the workplace, it has zero effect on you. Banning smoking on company property is fine, but this is not. It is the same as not hiring someone for those reasons.

    Something I find amusing is the number of people who support the legalization of drugs, yet fully support banning smoking. We've seen how well government bans on things work.
     
  12. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    One can chose to be a smoker, or stop smoking.

    One does NOT chose race or color.

    -t
     
  13. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #13
    OMG - I'm a left-handed, beer drinking with the guys, pizza eating, high cholesterol having, pregnant guy with a bump showing ... who smokes.

    I'm totally screwed. Of course, I'll probably die before I get fired.:rolleyes: :D
     
  14. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

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    #14
    Im unsure if I agree with with the banning of smokers from workplaces, but that being said, I ********* hate working with smokers. They stink up the whole joint! No smokers currently, and I hope it stays that way.:)
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #15
    And we've already crossed that bridge, for 'birthers".

    Give us time. We'll get to you, eventually.

    And if your doing an "Arnie", I want a piece of the action. :D
     
  16. Vizin, Jan 7, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  17. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #17
    and some are paid for by Lobbyists.
     
  18. ctucci macrumors regular

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    #18
    Right on

    Right on. And the folks here who don't understand that will get a nasty shock some day when they're shown the door for doing something irrelevant to the job, but unacceptable to the employer.

    Face book posts, for instance, are getting folks fired. 1st Amendment?
     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #19
    This one IS about smoking, not some 'discretion' down the road. They get sick from smoking, it's on the company's dime for extra health care premiums. And other non-smoking employees too, if they also contribute.

    Have you never signed a Confidentiality Agreement when accepting a job?
     
  20. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #20
    What are you on about? You have no 1st amendment right to post on Facebook at work.
     
  21. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #21
    Back in the late 1970's I asked our HR department if it was legal to discriminate against smokers when making hiring decisions, and they said "yes". I've never worked in any group that didn't at least unofficially discriminate against hiring smokers. If you smoke, expect your opportunities to be limited.
     
  22. Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816

    Rooskibar03

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    #22
    Guess what. As a company owner (I'm currently not) I can hire or fire whoever I want for almost any reason I want. Its called "at will" work and as long as I equally set employment criteria and more important, not discuss with anyone why I am not hiring or firing you I can do just about anything I want.

    I don't have to care your human rights. I care about my business and my bottom line. No one starts a business out of the kindness of his or her heart and doesn't expect something in return, namely a profit. As long as I don't subject you to unsafe or unsanitary working condition and you get paid for the job you where hired for my conscious is clear. I'm also a firm believer that if you treat your staff and professionals and with respect it goes a long way in company loyalty.

    I have two applicants in front of me applying for a job and one is going to cost me $3,000-$4,000 per year LESS to hire because he or she doesn't smoke, then thats my right to hire them. Its called free market, even if the government has meddled so much that it isn't all that free anymore.
     
  23. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    Even if not at work, how do you think our Beloved Leader, Steve, would handle an employee who posts about Apple in a public medium?

    That's right. :)
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #24
    With a small enough business, no one is going to notice if discriminatory hiring is happening. Not enough employees to form a pattern. Once a company gets over a certain size, however, and people start to notice patterns. If I understand you correctly - and please clarify if I'm not accurate - a business should be able to hire employees solely based on the bottom line. So, if an company owner believed that a certain colour of skin make people better workers, you'd be OK with not getting a job you are qualified for because you are not the right colour. Or, how about runners. Suppose that the employer believed that only marathon runners should be hired. Of course people can choose to run or not, so it's not discriminatory like skin or hair colour. (Knowing my luck you happen to be a runner :) But if you are then reverse it.... the company owner hates runners because the day after a event nobody gets any work done.)

    The point I'm trying to make is that we, as a society, should be past these discriminatory hiring practices. The regulations shouldn't be telling companies who to hire - just that hiring decisions should be based on job qualifications. Period.
    I sometimes forget about the disadvantages an American company has compared to the rest of the industrialized world, where the cost of health-care is not being borne by the private sector. For example, in Canada, companies can choose to offer top-up health-care plans -- as a way to entice top-notch employees. But they don't have to worry about hiring an unhealthy employee since those extra costs are not carried by the firm.

    It is one of the reasons Canadians have such wonderful job mobility - we don't need to worry about health coverage in a new job.
     
  25. Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816

    Rooskibar03

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    #25
    Point taken so I will expand on the thought. Should I hire based on the bottom line? No. My example should have indicated that all things equal I would hire the person who doesn't add cost to the bottom line. Now if person A, who happens to be the smoker, has skills and or qualifications that will make him a better employee that will in turn increase my revenue as a result of his higher productivity then I'm okay with.

    On a side note however I would not be okay with anyone expecting extra time off the job to go smoke. You are given set break times, use them to smoke. Don't expect the others around you to pick up the slack while you go out and burn on. Nothing pissed me off more then when I was in charge and I look out to see customers on a showroom with no employees because they all decided to go out back and smoke together.

    I dont get a fresh air break, so you don't get a smoke break.
     

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