Where there’s smoke … can you fire (or refuse to hire)? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Where there’s smoke … can you fire (or refuse to hire)?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employee Benefits Program,Hiring

In recent years, more health- and cost-conscious employers have turned their smoke-free workplaces into smoker-free environments.

Many employers are deciding not to hire smokers, screen new hires for nicotine as a condition for employment, impose higher health-benefit premiums for smokers and try to help smokers quit. Policies run the gamut. Examples:

  • Shoe manufacturer Weyco gave employees an ultimatum: quit smoking or be fired.
  • High-end optics lab Kimball Physics bans possession of tobacco on site and prohibits anyone who has used tobacco within the previous two hours from entering its workplace.
  • The Cleveland Clinic, Alaska Airlines and Union Pacific Railroad have stopped hiring smokers.

Some policies are mo­­tivated by pres­sure to increase productivity, on the theory that smokers take more frequent breaks and are out sick more often.

Other employers concerned that smokers incur higher health care costs are requiring sm...(register to read more)

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