June 02, 2011
Should Employers Be Allowed to Hire Only Nonsmokers?
It's a complex question: In May, we asked Monster.com site visitors whether employers should be allowed to require that employees be nonsmokers. More than 3,000 people responded (19% of them identified themselves as smokers).
Some employers believe that hiring only nonsmokers will keep insurance costs (and sick days) down while keeping productivity up. But even many nonsmokers seem to see smoking as a personal choice that employers should have no say in -- a majority of them (and, less surprisingly, a majority of smokers) say that employers should not be allowed to refuse to hire smokers.
Here are the results:
Should a company be allowed to require that its employees be nonsmokers?
Today, Radio Iowa is reporting that a Des Moines hospital has announced a nonsmokers-only policy: starting July 1, prospective employees of Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines will have to submit to a urine test that will check for nicotine. The report says that a representative of the ACLU has called the policy legal, although some states have forbidden similar policies.
What do you think of policies like this? Should employers be allowed to say "No Smokers Allowed"? Share your thought in the comments section.
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Yes, absolutely. Alcohol, like nicotine, is legal, but companies can fire employees for abusing alcohol or prescription drugs if it affects their productivity. Besides the demonstrated increase in health insurance costs, smokers DO affect productivity. I work in a 50 story building that does not allow smoking. Smokers must get in the elevator, go downstairs, go outside to a designated smoking area, smoke and return. I've clocked it--they're all gone at least 30 minutes. If they do a smoke break in the morning and a smoke break in the afternoon, plus the one hour lunch break everyone gets, they get an extra hour a day of paid time off. If we need one of them while they're out smoking, our productivity suffers too. And they stink up the elevators and the cubicles when they come back.
Posted by: Susan | Jun 4, 2011 4:30:57 PM
It is stunning how quickly the sheep head straight towards big brother...your job performance should be based just on that and nothing else. Perhaps employers should make employees run a 10k race in under 1 hour too? The overall health care cost to these employees would be considerably less than others improving "productivity" over time.
People should try to think a bit when they read these articles. Also, I'm not a smoker..never have been. I just like this little thing called liberty even if it is being stolen away from us..little by little every day.
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