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Is this fair- or even legal?

A health-oriented employer in OH is no longer going to hire smokers. They dont allow smoking on their workplace sites, so this effects what people do in their own time. I know smoking is bad, but fear this could set a dangerous practice. What's next? Not hiring candidates who are overweight? Or who have potentially dangerous hobbies? What are your thoughts?


Asked by mrsmom110 at 7:21 AM on Nov. 26, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 48 (285,071 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • It will be interesting to see what happens with that. We are protected from discrimination based on sex, religion, etc but I don't believe anything about health is mentioned. I'm not sure they can really ask a person that in the interview and, if someone does their research, they would know the company policy and be able to avoid answering that question. I guess I don't understand the purpose if it is already against the work campus policy to smoke on campus. It seems like overkill to me.

    Answer by ShaunnaMichelle at 8:16 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • I don't hire smokers for one of my businesses. We manufacture items for special needs kids and adults. You can't handle textiles when you smell of stale cigarettes. It isn't something I actively advertise during the hiring process though. The question is on the application though. Smoking leaves telltale signs imo so it would be hard to hide for any length of time. It hasn't been an issue in my biz.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 11:08 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • Not hiring someone because of their "guilty pleasures" is much easier than people want to believe. As long as the applicant receives a fair interview, and the interviewer is pleasant and professional, the applicant will never know that they did not get the job because of their weight or because they smoke.

    The rejection letter needs to only state (something to the effect) "...thank you for taking the time to meet with us regarding "XYZ position." We are writing to inform you that we've located an applicant who we feel best meets the needs of our company at this time, but will keep your application on file should a position become available that matches your unique skills and qualifications..."

    Even if you are rejected because you smoke or are considered overweight, as long as the employer does NOT make this reason known, you have no case. Sorry, but this is COMMON practice--when appearance/image is everything!!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 12:27 PM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • It is legal.

    Answer by Carpy at 9:04 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • It's legal, and in an at-will state, rather irrelevant, meaning they don't even need to tell you that's why they'd fire you, they can just do it. The concerns about that expanding to obesity aren't as likely, because health issues are covered by the ADA. What will be interesting is if someone manages to challenge one of these laws and gets addiction covered as well. Then the next step would have to be someone trying to prove that smoking causes some sort of impairment that can create a liability at work. (and that's still possible - the smell, the concerns about 3rd hand contact, the fact that small as it may be, nicotine does have a physiological impact).

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:08 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • It effects their insurance rates.
    It effects their productivity.
    It effects their mental and physical health.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 8:07 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • I'm a non-smoker and hate smoking period but this could open a huge can of worms because, like a previous post increases insurance rates...well, so does being overweight, being a women, being a certain age and anemia is prevalent certain with that said, if they get away with it using the insurance thing, they can start discriminating against tons of different people.

    Answer by ShouldHaveLeft at 11:54 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • even if it effects their insurance rates well lets see don't offer it to themor make them pay more i dont think it is right and if they do that don't you think that most people will lie and actually hide the fact that they smoke cigarettes so they can actually make money. Dang you know what i am not going to hire people with blonde hair well darn i hope that employer has blonde hair and needs a job ugh people these days not hiring for the stupidest reasons it is rediculous. I think if they are on street drugs or drugs not perscribed to them they shouldnt hire them not what that guy is dong

    Answer by meliscool72 at 1:10 PM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • Is it fair that patients have to smell that employee every time they come in the room?

    Answer by matthewscandi at 8:33 AM on Nov. 26, 2010

  • Its creating another "No Ask No tell" situation imho

    They will just play non-smoker to get the job and once in the system, they'll go somewhere safe from prying eyes to have a drag.

    Answer by Zoeyis at 9:17 AM on Nov. 26, 2010