No one can deny you a job based on your race, religion, or national origin. But do companies have to hire smokers? Depending on where you live, the answer is, “No.” In fact, 21 states say it’s okay to make employment decisions based on tobacco use.
Of course, hospitals find it hypocritical to employ people who engage in a habit that dramatically increases their chances of being hospitalized. The same goes for insurance companies and other healthcare businesses. Plus, studies show that smokers miss more time from work, so they cost more to employ than non-smokers. So, in places where it’s legal to base hiring on smoking, a lot of companies are instituting tobacco bans.
But even some staunch anti-smokers wonder about the ethics of turning away those who light up.
Paul Billings is a vice president of the American Lung Association. And his organization shares the concerns of many public health experts that basing hiring decisions on smoking could lead to discrimination against other groups, like senior citizens – who have higher-than-average healthcare costs.
So, what do you think?
Given that 50,000 people in the U.S. alone die each year because of exposure to secondhand smoke, should smokers be banned from the workplace? Or, is this the beginning of a long slide down a slippery slope? Weigh in at Facebook.com/JohnTesh.