Nurse's Station

Workplaces refusing to hire tobacco smokers



There’s no debate over whether smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, but there is a debate over whether smoking is bad for your employment status.
A recent article in the New York Times highlights the fact that many hospitals and other medical businesses are implementing policies that turn away potential employees if they smoke. In some instances, these policies can even lead to termination of current employees if they do not stop smoking. Certain organizations have turned to urine tests to ensure their employees are not inhaling any nicotine.

As may be expected, the issue has raised vigorous opposition from those who feel that conditions of employment should not be based upon whether or not someone participates in an activity that is legal. In fact, 29 states and Washington DC passed laws two decades ago prohibiting discrimination against anyone who smokes.

However, some of those states make exceptions for health care organizations—and the article points out that the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization refuse to hire smokers.

What would you do if your workplace required employees to be completely smoke free? And if you already work in an environment with these policies, how has it affected your experience?



Decisions, decisions

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