Human Resources News & Insights

A ban on hiring smokers? It’s not that simple

More companies than ever won’t hire people who smoke. But is that legal — and is it worth it for employers?

The University of Pennsylvania Medical System is the latest employer to announce it will no longer hire smokers.

The firm joins a number of companies who’ve closed their doors to tobacco user, as Molly DiBianca of the Delaware Employment Law Blog pointed out in a recent post.

But just because these organizations have decided not to hire smokers doesn’t automatically mean that you can.

Banning smokers – is it legal?

First, you and your supervisors should understand there’s no federal law that protects smokers or entitles them to equal protections when it comes to hiring, promotions, etc. That’s because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t recognize smokers as a protected class.

That said, there are 29 states (along with the District of Columbia) that do offer protections for smokers.

If your company is in one of those states, you can’t refuse to hire people just because they smoke (although you can turn them down for other, legitimate reasons).

Here’s the list of states that provide employment protections to smokers, according to the American Lung Association:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Is it worth it?

If you’re not located in one of those states, you’re likely permitted to enact a smoke-free hiring policy and keep people who smoke out of your workplace.

But is a ban on hiring smokers really the right way to go? Opinions differ.

On the one hand, a 2009 study by the Journal of Tobacco Policy & Research did find that smokers take more sick days than their non-smoking co-workers.

It also found that even if a smoker is in relatively good health (isn’t obese, doesn’t have chronic health conditions like diabetes, etc.), there’s a good chance he or she will still have higher medical costs than a comparable non-smoker over a three-year period.

But a smoking ban is worthwhile only if smokers quit for good. If the prohibition causes people to quit until they’re hired — and then they take up smoking again as soon as they pass the nicotine test — it’s not an effective cost-cutting tactic.

The results point to a need for constant testing to ensure former smokers don’t fall back into the habit after they’re hired — which can get expensive.

Cons of a ban on hiring smokers

Another study from anti-smoking journal Tobacco Control found that a tobacco-free hiring policy might not be a good idea. Here’s why:

  • It’s a slippery slope. If the decision were based on health-related costs, couldn’t a case be made for banning people with with weight-related problems, such as high cholesterol or diabetes? And wouldn’t that raise discrimination concerns?
  • Would you be turning away good talent because of a smoking addiction — an addiction that could be licked with some help?
    Sure, when unemployment is high and lots of people are job hunting, you can be choosy. But do you really want to lose that top salesperson or IT manager to a competitor because of smoking?
    And what about when the employment market turns around, and you find yourself scrambling for good people?

Researchers at Tobacco Control instead say employers should push hard to get employees into smoking-cessation programs, especially ones sponsored at work.

Every analysis of such programs shows they’re cost-effective in improving absentee rates and time lost because of smoking-related illnesses.

Updated on February 27, 2013.

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  • Sheila

    I totally oppose the practice of testing people’s urine for a LEGAL substance, or for discrimination against them for what they do with their lives off the job. I DO find it acceptable to require them to not smoke at work, but really, this nanny mindset where we get to control people’s entire personal lives for most likely a minimum wage job they can barely get by on flies in the face of of constitutional freedoms.

    It’s a bad idea because it discrimiates. It delves into what should be private information about an employee. And the slippery slope thing — you are correct — it will only turn into abuse by employers. I am dead against this. I am NOT a smoker, but they who choose to smoke have a right to do so, and not to be harrassed if they keep it off the job.

  • HR Data

    In addition to taking more sick days and being more costly to a company’s health plan, most abuse or take excessive breaks. I have seen too many that take 3-4 breaks in the morning and afternoon. The addiction keeps them focused on that next cig break…

  • BasicEmployeeRights

    The deeper issue that never sees the light of day is the hypocrisy of the so called “war on drugs”. This of course is a misnomer for the “war on illegal drugs”. Let’s see the last time I checked there was no known medical benefit to the ingestion of tobacco.

    In fact according to every credible study by the American Heart Association and others nicotine is one of the deadliest and most addictive drugs known to man. Also research reveals there are more tobacco related health issues and deaths every year than all the “illegal drugs” combined!

    How then can we by any semblance of truth justify NOT holding job applicants and employees to the same standard of consequences for testing positive for tobacco as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, meth, etc.?

    Oh I forgot as long as we stick the word “legal” in front of a deadly addictive drug that has a multi billion dollar industry behind it…any thing goes.

  • Sheila

    I do not care how harmful tobacco is. What I care about is that people have the basic right to live their lives free from the intrustion of government or minimum wage intrusive employers. I do NOT support any sort of drug testing unless it directly relates to job perfomance. Testing someone for liquor in their system when they are not drunk on the job but drink on weekends for example is completely absurd.

    What I don’t like is that folks seem to feel it is okay to dictate to everyone else what they should or should not be doing with their lives. Cigarettes. Yes they are bad. But you know what? If Sally or Joe decides they want to smoke, who do you think YOU are to tell them not to? Are you the health police? Their mommy? The Nanny?

    You see, you can quote me the facts all day long about the war on drugs, about cancer related deaths, and on and on. But truly, unless it is impacting you, it is none of your business. I don’t want to live in a police state. If you honestly feel that adults need to by law be protected from the activities they enjoy when they are not hurting anyone else, then I think you ought to conisder moving to a country in the mideast where people are instructed what they should do and say and think. Drug testing is intrustive. The war on drugs; especially marijuana, is a prohibition this country needs to shed. And that is how I feel.

  • MMAN

    While I agree with your assertions about smoking, it is not a right of the government or employers for that matter to dictate whether or not a person can smoke or else not smoke. However, I do disagree with you about marijuana. You are not comparing apples to apples. You are however comparing apples to coconuts. I mean you say that marijuana should be legalized but I’m sorry, aside from personal health effects, marijuana is a mood and judgement altering drug. It also is an impairing drug. Last time I checked I never heard of anyone being nicotine impaired and causing someone to loose their life on the road because they smoked a cigarette. But there are many times that people have caused accidents and even death because of smoking marijuana. There are enough deaths out on our highways due to alcohol consumption(yes, I admit I feel this should be illegal too), we don’t need anything else out there. With this said, lets stick to the subject of smoking shall we.

    I also wonder why when it comes to talking about tobacco that smoking is always the topic of conversation. What about those who use dip or chewing tobacco. They should be targets as well.

    Also, it is a common known fact that tobacco users drive up health insurance premiums, tie up healthcare resources, and (in the case of smokers) expose others to the harmful effects of their habits. With this said, I can legitimately see both sides of the argument.

  • Sheila

    I do not believe in prohibition of marijuana. I DO believe it does not belong in the workplace; however, neither does alcohol which is currently legal. I believe that there are more helath related complications from legal prescribed medicines then there are from marijuana. I believe that adults in a free society should be able to engage in the recreational use of alchol and marijuana.

    I do not think we should be trageting tobacco smokers or chewers for what they do on their own time. I DO believe they should not be granted additional breaks beyond what everyone else gets. In other words, if they can’t make it all day without smoking only on their legal breaks, then they should be disciplined based upon their actions — not the tobacco ingestion.

    I think when we start picking out pieces of folks to discriminate against, we do not level the playing field for everyone, we simply cause more restrictions on everyone. I could well imagine the abuses such dimiscrimination would lead to — perhaps we could test everyone for aids, or run a dna test to see if they may have dormant cancer cells, for example. We need to allow people to live their private lives in peace so long as they are not harming or infringing upon the ability of others to do so.

    I do not believe in giving corporations the ultimate power to intrude upon people’s personal lives in this fachion. Especially when I consider how poorly they pay their workers in comparison to their higher ups. I think employers need to focus on what occurs on the job. Period.

  • Martin Grodt

    It seems that the biggest gripe against employee smokers might be the health care issue.

    How about this idea for employers who offer health care benefits: The employer would pay a fixed rate of X amount of dollars to the health insurer; the employee would pay the rest. Then it would be up to the health care provider to determine the amount of risk and how much to charge for each person, family, etc. It seems that a health insurer would be best equipped to determine risk in each case and that would leave the employer free from having to make these determinations.

    It is not an employer’s business to judge the personal habits of an employee during off business hours. However, personal habits and vices should not be carried into the workplace.

  • Nan

    I do not think an employer should have the right to impose restrictions on perfectly legal activities outside of the workplace. If those activities do not impair an employee’s job performance, they should not be the emplyer’s business. If they do impair job performance, the employer has every right (and responsibility) to impose restrictions (for example, drug or alcohol impairment presents a danger to other employees or liability issues). If these activities are banned by law, then by all means, make their use a fireable offense. Until then, butt out.

  • H2r

    If you are on a group health insurance plan, your premiums are based on the medical loss ratio of the group. So if you have smokers in your group, you are likely paying more for your insurance based on the health problems of smokers. Your employer has an interest in providing the highest level of benefits for the group at the lowest cost. That in a nutshell is the employer’s interest in whether employees smoke, even if its on their own time.

  • Sheila

    H2r, that sort of reasoning will also start to discriminate against obsese people and God knows what. Sorry, I am sticking to my guns on this one. Smokers are already asked to disclose that on health forms, charge them the additonal premium (which is what is done with term life insurance) and be done with it. The 4th amendment is supposed to give us freedom from unreasonable search of our persons and proerty.

    The problem is, we keep allowing more and more things to be “reasonable” — they are are always reasonable in spite of being legal. Anyone who still values personal freedom above corporate greed will fiercely cling to their 4th amendment rights and stop looking for ways to unravel them at the whim of a financially powerful interest. Remember, these companies pay their CEO’s outrageous sums of money while many times paying their workers poorly. It is time to look out for the workers. Everything is already slanted to the corporations at this point in time.

  • BasicEmployeeRights

    Hello Shelia,

    “I do not care how harmful tobacco is.” Come on Shelia, I agree with you. No one cares more about “rights” than I do. I have four highly Search engine ranked sites dedicated to the enforcing the rights of career seekers and employees.

    But, let’s reason together. To say you don’t care about harmful and deadly tobacco is akin to saying “I don’t care how harmful asbestos is, the government doesn’t have a right to keep companies from exposing employees to mesothelioma.”

  • Sheila

    Hi Basic,

    I see no comparison to the banning of a harmful substance in the workplace to employee rights to do as they see fit off the job, and while I DO find it reasonable and acceptable to ban smoking in the workplace (for the very illustration you provide) I DO NOT find it acceptable to ban the hiring of smokers.

    Smoke on your own time; not at work = ok with me.
    Smoke on your own time; we will not hire you = NOT ok with me.

    Is this clear? The issue is not one of protecting employees from smoke, because you can certainly ban smoking within your business to accomplish this; the issue is one of discriminating against employees about something they do on their own time. I stand on this, and see no argument which can convince me otherwise. The alternative is to dictate (often by minimum wage emploers to boot!) what people do legally in the privacy of their own lives.

  • Vietnam Veteran

    This is a much deeper issue than smoking… On any law they make they want you to believe that it is in your best interest. This is all about controlling our lives a little at a time and when people wake-up it will be too late. Liberty and freedom is for the most part a thing of the past. Our grand children will never know what real liberty and freedom is. They will just think this is the way it’s suppose to be, a country of laws.

    US Federal Government is corrupt and out of order and is a legalized mafia. I am a purple heart vietnam veteran and I sense a smell of nazism/communism rule that will come to ALL of the Land of the Free (even non-smokers… WOW!) … The USA will be run very similar to Nazi Germany within 5 years and the coming president may very well be our last US president. Yep, one world government is on its way! There is only one way to stop this nazism/communism rule and it’s NOT at the voting poles, which 80% of the voters are brainwashed by the media and federal government. They know if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it… He who has an ear, let him hear.

  • Katie421

    Hey Veteran- Every word you wrote is the truth! And your right.if the people of our great nation don’t wake up soon and turn off the so called news stations telling you everything is fine …………its going to be too late!

  • Common Sense

    Many people on this comment board need to distinguish between government interference and private enterprise. As much as I am against an out-of-control federal government (Big Brother/Nanny State), that is not what this issue is about. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe the Federal government has made any laws requiring or restricting who employers can or can’t hire in regards to smokers. Smokers are not losing their freedoms in this case due to restrictive laws. If anything the states have enacted new laws protecting smokers. The question is whether or not the states should make and enforce these “smoking ban” laws. If an employer thinks he/she is more competitive by refusing to hire smokers, what business is it of the government? The “smoker” is not a protected class. These smokers are free to find work elsewhere or start their own business. These smokers cost the business money, if the business decides that it would rather bring on a non-smoking employee that would save the company money they should have the right to do so.

    Sheila says “The 4th amendment is supposed to give us freedom from unreasonable search of our persons and proerty [sic]. True, however the 4th amendment is directed at the government mandating unreasonable searches, not private enterprise requesting a reasonable search in return for employment. There is a big difference between the two concepts. It is misleading to suggest otherwise.

    @Nan. You may want to rethink your statement “If those activities do not impair an employee’s job performance, they should not be the emplyer’s business. If they do impair job performance, the employer has every right (and responsibility) to impose restrictions…Until then, butt out.” The problem with your argument is that smoking can and often does affect job performance via excessive sick days and smoking breaks. Now that you are armed with the knowledge that smoking does impair the work, I imagine you will be changing your stance.

    P.S. I fail to see how “CEO pay” and “minimum wage” are relevant to the smoking ban discussion.
    It is simple “class warfare” distraction and hyperbole.

    • Shar

      So I guess you’d rather smokers sit home on the government dole (your tax dollars) rather than working for the money for their smokes. You may as well send the smokes directly to my house and I’ll quit my soul sucking job.

  • Sheila

    @Common Sense, I do believe the Federal government does have laws that prevent discrimination, and while smoking (a legal activity) is not held up as a protected class, I do very much view this intrusion (specifically the testing for a legal substance) to be discriminatory. How about we allow employer’s to ban hiring diabetics, or obese people? People who own foreign cars? People who skydive? People who travel to countries with a high rate of aids? People who ride motorcycles?

    The real issue is what the heck does this have to do with the job? If a smoker comes in and does not take a ton of sick days, and is qualified and does their work, who is the XY Company to tell them they cannot smoke in their spare time? Using your reasoning, overweight folks would also be a bad thing for business. Do we have to seriously have to request the Federal goverment make a ruling here? Testing people for legal substances in my opinion is indeed a violation of their fourth amendment right to not have their persons searched.

    And I will tell you how I believe CEO pay and minimum wage are relevent to the smoking ban discusion, people need to work to live. The CEO’s are wealthy and they happen to build this wealth upon the backs of those minimum wage workers who toil daily to survive on the pittance they are paid. Shall we now give the CEO’s the ultimate say on how people they barely pay a living wage shall cocduct their off work-site lives? Especially when what they are doing is legal?? I say no sir, or no madam. I say no going back to the company owning the town, the store, and the people.

    I would also suggest, highly, to anyone with a moral compass that they should boycott any company that proceeds with this testing and discrimination policy in an open manner. Any less, will simply lead to further erosion of worker rights and I can tell you that overweight people will be next on the chopping block, so folks please speak up now.

  • Common Sense

    @Sheila. You say: “I do very much view this intrusion (specifically the testing for a legal substance) to be discriminatory”
    I think you and others go around with a notion in your head that discrimination is automatically a bad thing. It simply isn’t. Many forms of discrimination allow society to function properly. E.g. Auto insurance companies need to know how to classify and discriminate against bad driver’s. This enables them to afford lower rates to responsible drivers. I am certain you would not want to be lumped in with a 17 year Chicago male who has three moving violations and an accident.
    Men are “discriminated” against when purchasing life insurance because the have higher mortality rates. Thus they pay higher premiums.
    Baseball scouts discriminate against right-handed pitchers because they want more “lefties”.
    I personally discriminate against opinionated loud mouths when inviting people to my parties.

    You asked: “How about we allow employer’s to ban hiring diabetics, or obese people? People who own foreign cars? People who skydive? People who travel to countries with a high rate of aids? People who ride motorcycles?”
    If I am an employer looking for a C.E.O. to run my company and have two candidates with everything being equal except one is a frequent sky diver/ base jumper. I am going to discriminate against the base jumper every time. It’s a no-brainer.

    You asked: “what the heck does this have to do with the job? If a smoker comes in and does not take a ton of sick days, and is qualified and does their work, who is the XY Company to tell them they cannot smoke in their spare time?”
    It has everything to do with the job. You are making an assumption that a particular smoker does not “take a ton of sick days”. That may or may not be true. But statistically speaking that smoker will cost the employer more money and will have more frequent absences. Smoking is not a protected class nor should it be. An employer is able to discriminate against employees/applicants that are more costly or less productive. This includes: right-handed pitchers, white-men who can’t jump, sky-diving c.e.o.’s, people who look at them funny, smokers…

    It is obvious you are a big proponent of the 4th Amendment (So am I). However, I always find it odd when a person continuously harps on a point that that they don’t really grasp. You have now incorrectly cited the 4th amendment 3 times. (Once after I corrected you). It simply does not apply to this situation. “The Fourth Amendment applies to governmental searches and seizures, but not those done by private citizens or organizations who are not acting on behalf of a government. (Wikipedia). Please reread the 4th amendment and stop regurgitating it to try and make your point on this issue. It is very frustrating for me to have to keep correcting you. I don’t know how else to explain it.

    Sorry, I know you are trying hard to make a connection between minimum wage/C.E.O. pay and “smoking bans”, but what you are telling me is quite a stretch.

  • Sheila

    I will stand upon my reasoning in favor of workers not being made to “jump through hoops” at the whim of hiring manager. You point out my mis-use of the 4th Amendment, but what good is it to have rights from government intrusion only to nullify them when in the private sector. (By the way universities do not recognize Wikipedia as a primary source, so do dig deeper dear when you Google.) I do not know why you find it odd that a private citizen would be offended at the notion of a potential employer testing them for a legal substance, nor do I understand why you cannot connect the dots in what is a very real loss of personal freedom that such a search represents.

    Perhaps we can conclude that you speak in favor of businesses doing whatever they want without regard to individual rights. Perhaps we can conclude that the rights of individuals to conduct their lives in a legal manner should be forfeit in order for them to survive in the workplace. Gee, if everyone is allowed to test for a legal substance and then ban the hiring of smokers it stands to reason that one would have to cease smoking in order to find a job. Or as you so lightly offered they can start their own companies. Well, I suppose you could look at it that way. But let us insert an actual protected group into that logic: let’s say that we will DNA test to make sure you have no Jewish or Negro blood in order to work there. Outrageous? Of course, and yet if it were not for people like me speaking out against these very injustices there would be no protected classes. Discrimination against legal activity is still discrimination unless and until it directly impacts the need to perform the job.

    In these instances, and in this economy, clearly the job seeker is at the mercy of the hiring company. The law in general is there to protect us from being abused from the actions of others which may cause us undue harm.

    Interesting that you bring up insurance companies, because I also believe that they have a bit too much information at their disposal as well when it comes to manipulating statistics to now include our credit scores as a profit based motive for raising our rates, You make the assumption that the smoker does take a ton of breaks — I tell you that a person is to be judged on their individual merit; not on statistics. What do you suppose is going to happen when they begin to install the mandatory black boxes in all of the new passenger vehicles in 2015? I can predict with a fair amount of certainty that the insurance companies will use this information to further raise rates. And the sad part is people like yourself will stand back and applaud yet another intrusion into our lives by corporate interests.

    You are missing the forest for the trees. By allowing testing of our persons for legal substances when in fact no one can prove that a smoker cannot be an effective worker you are supporting discrimination. By failing to grasp the concept that Corporations indeed have a great deal of control over the workforce and thus the individual you are failing to see that we need to have some protection from them corralling us into forfeiting our freedom just to get a job. And I do continue to bring up the pay disparity to illustrate to you that they want an awful lot out of us for the crappy pay they offer in comparison to corporate profits.

    I reiterate — anyone with a moral compass should boycott companies that openly interfere in people’s personal business as a hiring practice. You may demand I not smoke at work. You may demand I not take excessive sick days or breaks, but by God, you may NOT demand to test me for cigarettes. Feel free to “correct” me anytime at all; rest assured I will not be silenced against this injustice and you only provide me with another opportunity to reason with people in the hopes that they stop being sheep and wake up to what is happening in this country.

    Have a nice day.

  • MMAN

    @Sheila, I agree with you on this one. Common Sense seems to have a very high respect for corporations and would obviously feel they can do no wrong. Last time I checked the U.S. Constitution was written for individual liberties and not a corporations. When we as Americans allow any entity to intrude into our personal lives in such manners whether it be the government, corporations, and/or other individuals, we are in fact giving up our freedoms. One is just as big a threat to freedom as the other. Corporations ought to realize this as well. Common Sense has erroneously compared driving records with smoking. Driving is obviously something done on roadways that are publicly owned and driving records are public information. Smoking is an individual, private matter and is a legal activity (well until you make someone else breath your smoke anyway).

  • Common Sense

    @Sheila So you say “universities do not recognize Wikipedia as a primary source, so do dig deeper dear when you Google.”
    I did not realize I was writing a thesis for a university. Actually, I did originally cite the 4th amendment itself the first time I corrected you, but that was apparently not good enough for you, so I tried a different tactic. Don’t blame the messenger, your arguments were false no matter who I cited. I was right you were wrong. Period.

    Why do you call me “dear”? You are really pretty smug and condescending for someone who has been so consistently wrong.

    You say “You may demand I not smoke at work. You may demand I not take excessive sick days or breaks, but by God, you may NOT demand to test me for cigarettes.”

    Like I said earlier: Who is demanding you be tested for cigarettes? The company is simply asking for a test in exchange for employment. No one has forced anyone to do anything. There are two simple solutions if you don’t want to be “abused by the actions of others”. Work somewhere else / start your own business or quit smoking.

    Your example of testing DNA for “Jewish or Negro blood” is nothing but a straw-man argument. I have already conceded that companies should not be able to discriminate based on the established protected classes (like race and religion). I then said, smokers should not be a protected class. I have made the distinction. Why do you fail to acknowledge it? Is it on purpose to try and demagogue my argument?

    You bring up the example of insurance companies and and mandated black boxes in autos. Once again you miss the point. These black boxes are not being mandated by the insurance companies they are being mandated by the federal government. It is “big brother” you need to fear. The government is the one forcibly intruding into our lives. If insurance companies were to use the black boxes, it could only be done with the consent of the insured. It wouldn’t necessarily be used to raise rates. It would be used to identify safe and unsafe drivers. They could then determine whether or not to raise or lower rates. (AKA discrimination). I would welcome the opportunity to have my car monitored by the insurance company. I am a safe driver. I could no doubt have my rate properly lowered. On the other hand the federal government should keep their nose out of my business.

    Please drop the pay disparity argument. It is off topic, wastes time and I refuse to debate you on it. (yawn).

    You say: “anyone with a moral compass should boycott companies that openly interfere in people’s personal business as a hiring practice.
    Does that apply to the aforementioned employer who will not hire the “c.e.o. base jumper” or will you just be “discriminating” against companies that ban smokers?

    You say “Feel free to “correct” me anytime at all; rest assured I will not be silenced…”
    Thank you for your blessing, I will continue to correct you when you are wrong. BTW, I am already painfully aware that you will not be silenced.

  • Sheila


    @Common Sense. I simply disagree. And I think you are wrong. And I AM amused that I am somehow causing you to be “painfully” aware. As far as Wikepedia, you are the one who felt the need to quote it, I was just pointing out that it is not really an authority; although it is informative.

    1) DNA for Jewish or Negro blood is not a straw-man arugument, it is a bonafide example of protected classes which were once openly discriminated against in the private sector at some point. The illustration is offered because somehow you miss the point that we don’t discriminate against people based upon legal activity, nor do we subject them to blood and urine tests for legal substances as part of the hiring process. Quite frankly, I expect to see more litigation in this area should coporations continue to attempt to be such boneheads about things.

    2) Black boxes. Again, you miss the point (you really so seem to so that a lot). I never suggested that the insurance companies are the ones requesting the black boxes. I merely pointed out to you that I have little doubt that the insurance companies shall find some way to exploit them once we are stuck with them. And again, the point was that not ALL intrusions into our private lives (just because they are legal) are justifiable.

    3) I will not drop the pay disparity argument for I am grieved by the nerve and presumption of people who will work someone at an unliveable wage while they flaunt their wealth and then have the gall to demand their workers not participate in perfectly legal behavior when not on the job.

    The point is that YOU are missing the point. Which would be amusing if we were not sitting my daily and watching our personal liberities systematically stripped. Here is what the EEOC says so far as the rights of corporations to discriminate in the hiring process. There are quite a few laws therein and I suppose it is to protect us from profit seeking corporations who would otherwise run amok over the individual. I predict that if enough people protest being employement tested on smoking for a job they are otherwise qualified for and capable of doing you will see smoking added to the prohibitions listed on this website. In fact, I do believe I will leave a comment on the EEOC website that they consider such a ruling.

    People with your mind set think that everything the private employer does is ok and should not be questioned. That is simply not the case. Well, the volley has been served, Enjoy.

  • Common Sense

    @MMAN My discrimination comment was spot on. To say I have “erroneously compared driving records with smoking. Driving is obviously something done on roadways that are publicly owned and driving records are public information. Smoking is an individual, private matter and is a legal activity (well until you make someone else breath your smoke anyway).” is beside the point. It is paramount to saying I can not compare the “Bears” to the “Packers” because the Packers are publicly held while the Bears are private.
    I was simply stating that discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. I fail to see how your argument makes my statement erroneous. BTW, driving can be done on private roads and smoking can be done in public and vice versa. Both smoking and driving may or may not be legal activities, depending on the situation.

    One more thing. Please don’t tell me how I feel. When you say I “obviously feel they can do no wrong” you are wrong. I never implied any such thing and do not agree with that sentiment what-so-ever.

    What is really amazing (correct me if i am wrong) is that you have often argued in favor of Obamacare and now say “When we as Americans allow any entity to intrude into our personal lives in such manners whether it be the government, corporations, and/or other individuals, we are in fact giving up our freedoms.

    Why do you not see the hypocrisy? You advocate for the biggest unconstitutional Federal intrusion in American history and now pretend to seem so concerned with individual liberties and the constitution. How does your mind reconcile those two stances?

  • Common Sense

    @sheila It is hard to debate you and not feel like pounding my head against the wall. You may ask why.
    It is because I point out why you are wrong in multiple ways, and you find fault with the second source (Wikipedia. Yes “I felt the need to use it”. I was trying to make it easier for you to understand so that the concept might get through your head). I realize Wikipedia is not a “real authority” But you refused to listen when I did cite the real authority (the constitution) and then you harp on it again. I was right, the constitution was right, Wikipedia was right and you were wrong. Why can’t you just admit you were wrong and be done with it?

    1)I know your Jewish/Negro is a “bonafide” example of a protected class. No one is denying that. That does not mean it was not used as a straw-man argument. If you look back at my original point, you will notice that I acknowledged ‘protected classes” before you did, yet you tried to use it as a club against me. Do you need me to link “straw-man argument” to Wikipedia for you?

    2)I find it odd that the Federal government is going to be the entity requiring black boxes in your car and you mostly fear the private company as the one who will be intruding into your private life. That does not add up.

    3)Yaaawwwwnnnn. No longer surprised by your off-topic stubbornness.

    You said I “miss the point that we don’t discriminate against people based upon legal activity”. I know that is your point. But your point is just dead wrong. Society does it every day in a million different ways. I gave you plenty of examples. I can give you a thousand more if need be. But apparently you think by ignoring the examples you can still be right. Why do you not respond to my question about the base jumping c.e.o.? Is it because you don’t want to look like a hypocrite?

    You say: “The point is that YOU are missing the point. Which would be amusing if we were not sitting my daily and watching our personal liberities systematically stripped.”

    I would be very curious as to what your views were on the individual mandate?

    My “painful awareness” does not come from any supposed enlightenment you are offering as much as it is a realization that you will use the same old discredited/straw-man/non-sensical arguments and thus force me to repeat myself.

    As I mentioned earlier, I would appreciate it if you and MMAN would cease making erroneous suggestions that I “have a mind set that everything the private employer does is ok and should not be questioned. ” Never said it, never even implied it. Period. (Straw-man).

    You may not have noticed, but while you are serving volleys, I have been spiking the ball in the sand right next to where you buried your head for most of this debate.

  • MMAN

    @Common Sense…do you not see the hypocrisy in your argument where organizations (most are against Obamacare by the way) because of the plain facts you stated as it is an intrusion on personal freedoms but then turn right around and intrude in the personal lives of their employees? Moreover, I don’t see where you get your information that I am for Obamacare, I have posed some questions and issues related to it that many who are against it leave unanswered but I have never openly supported it because I feel that there are some good points and bad points to it. But just because I like some of the provisions of it and dislike others does not mean I support it. Also if you read my post I said and let me repeat “well until you make someone else breathe your smoke anyway”.

  • Sheila

    Imagining you pounding your head against the wall does amuse me, I admit. The reason we have to have protected classes in the first place is because undue discrimination in the workplace and hiring market is simply that – unfair discrimination. I am of the mind more and more that the one and only reason people defend this proposed practice on banning (and testing) smokers in the job market is because they themselves do not happen to approve of smoking.

    I am 54 years old. Growing up my parents smoked and frankly at that point in time most of the people I knew smoked. As the health impacts became more and more evident, society in the US trended the other way. I do not smoke myself; I think it is a dirty, disgusting habit. The issue to me is not simply one of “jumping on the band-wagon” of people who applaud that we are eradicating this social “evil” and hiring bans are great. The issue is one of constitutionality and an individual’s liberty to live in accordance with their own dictates in their own personal lives.

    Let us look at why we had to have protected classes in the first place. Why do you suppose they came about? Why, discrimination of course. At one time perhaps (say in the 40’s) it is doubtful that anyone would hire a Japanese person. Certainly the blacks have had nothing but an uphill climb in our society — why people even made the argument that they were less intelligent, etc. But hey, let them all form their own company, or simply not apply for jobs because the corporation has the right to dictate. Right?

    Well, apparently not. Apparently, the EEOC recognizes on some level that an un-level playing field in the market place is not only discriminatory; it needs to be held at bay. The real criteria for a job should be one’s ability to perform the duties of the job. The EEOC said, “Hey wait a minute, no one wants to hire this one or that one because they don’t like that they are gay, or they are black, or whatever.” The point is that in these instances, corporations had to be FORCED by law to not discriminate.

    What I am proposing to you, black boxes, Wikipedia, Obama care, and the kitchen sink aside, is that when a particular group of people is not doing anything wrong or unlawful; yet they are picked out as a group and told “we won’t hire you” you are running on a slippery slope of discrimination. Smokers have simply not been given the same consideration under the law as everyone else. I propose to you that just as in the case where corporations were attempting to discriminate against people who have been out of work for a long time (challenged by Obama in the “American Jobs Act of 2011”) smokers have rights too.

    It is a shame when people try to impose their will against qualified people who need jobs to survive but happen to be smokers. Just like it was a shame in every other instance which has been added (with good cause) to the EEOC’s ever growing list of protected class members. You see, that while I personally do not smoke, I will fight for other folk’s right to do so. Anytime we get comfortable with picking and choosing groups of people to discriminate against, we run the risk of more and more people being hurt by this.

    I worry about the trend mentioning overweight people for example; what is next for heaven’s sake? This is not a contest to see who has the most clever argument, who feels they have spiked a volley, or such; this is a blatant abuse of individual rights being leveled at us without an outcry.

    The fact that these corporations continue to profit, continue to pay their execs millions in many cases, and then want to pay so little only makes it more outrageous in my personal opinion. I have been reading with interest into these smoking bans, and surprise, there is a lot if litigation mounting. Good. It is stupid, prejudiced, and without merit to make so many personal demands for an 8-5 minimum wage job. When smoking keeps someone from being physically able to empty bedpans or take an x-ray, then I suppose it would be acceptable to ban it for those jobs. As it does not, it is in fact an unwarranted discrimination we are all better off without.

  • Common Sense

    @MMAN My argument has been entirely consistent. There is not one single iota of hypocrisy. To make such a claim exposes your utter failure to distinguish between unconstitutional government mandates and constitutional private choices. Don’t feel that bad though, you are not the only one on this board with that problem.
    I am sorry if I mis-characterized you as a proponent of Obamacare if indeed your are not. (I still don’t know). I may have mistook your energetic defense of free preventive care and wishy-washy stances as stances as tepid approval. With that being said, you are either for Obamacare or against it. I can sit here all day and pick out provisions of the 2000 page bill and tell you which ones I like/dislike also. But that is not the way it works. We were served the whole enchilada, not bite size pieces. And if the individual mandate is rightfully struck down the law can not function. So MMAN up and take a position. Are you for or against Obamacare?

  • Common Sense

    I could not help but notice that in your long winded bloviation, you conveniently once again refused to answer my question. I can only assume it is because you don’t want to be exposed as the hypocrite you are. I wonder why you won’t stand for discrimination against smokers, but refuse to stand up for the skydiving /base-jumping c.e.o.. Is it okay to discriminate against one group and not another? What about people who suffer from rhinotillexomania? (yes, I said it). They are one of the most discriminated groups in the country . Even I admit to discriminating against them on occasion. Are you ready to “leave a comment on the EEOC website that they consider making a ruling on whether or not rhinotillexomaniacs be considered a protected class. After all it is “unwarranted discrimination we are all better off with out.” It “is a blatant abuse of individual rights being leveled at us without an outcry.” Will you be these people’s voice. Yes you Sheila, you on the high horse with your self-righteous “moral compass”. A moral compass that people who think differently than you so obviously don’t possess. Will you be the voice of smokers and rhinotillexomaniacs?

    You are so concerned with slippery slopes of discrimination. How about the slippery slope of protected classes? Can you tell me a class of people that do not deserve being in a protected class? Where do you draw the line? Smokers? Obese? Mildly obese? Chubby? The ugly? Vertically challenged? The uni-browed? rhinotillexomaniacs?

    If you think I am jumping on some sort of “bandwagon” to rid society of an “evil” you would be wrong yet again. I defend smokers and private business’ right to smoke in private establishments/taverns.

    You say: “The issue is one of constitutionality and an individual’s liberty to live in accordance with their own dictates in their own personal lives.”
    On the surface that is quite a beautiful sentiment, but I beg of thee to tell me how it is unconstitutional for a private employer to ban smokers. When answering please cite the article and section. (Hint: you won’t find it in the 4th Amendment). (Hint#2: Don’t waste your time looking in other sections either).

    If a worker wants the freedom to puff a stogie, he/she also has the freedom to find a private sector employer that does not mind smelling his/her stench and is content with paying extra to cover his/her medical expenses.
    You seem overly pre-occupied with the rights of people who willingly decide to destroy their bodies by abusing nicotine, but have no concern for the rights of an employer who has to pick up the extra cost involved with the employee’s destructive habit. Smoking is not a genetic disease or a necessity. One is not born into this world as a smoker like one is born into race. I don’t believe a person can control his/her sexuality like one can control putting a carcinogenic stick in one’s mouth. There is simply no legitimate need to make smoker’s a protected class.

    You say: “black boxes, Wikipedia, Obama care, and the kitchen sink aside…”
    I understand why you want to put these aside. You can no longer justify your hypocrisy on defending individual liberties and Obamacare at the same time . You also realize that your Wikipedia argument was a non-starter. And came to the realization that everything I said about black boxes was accurate

    You say: “Imagining you pounding your head against the wall does amuse me, I admit.”
    I figured it amused you, I can see no other logical reason you would continue spewing same old dis-proven and off-topic arguments.

  • Sheila

    Ha! You are simply absurd. I think perhaps you should be on medication. I have made all of my points, and I think I believe what I am saying enough to stand up for it. I really don’t see the relevance of skydivers here, nor do I see by any stretch of the imagination why failing to comment upon them would be tantamount to being a hypocrite. Still, in answer to your silly rants, I would say that when the day comes that there is a public announcement that there will be a test (I don’t know, um, perhaps a private investigation, how does one prove skydiving??) for all applicants that if they skydive they will not be eligible to be hired, as a class, then Yes, I would call that discrimination and also speak against it.

    I have little doubt that you will continue with your acerbic diatribe of rants and pointless counterpoints with anyone who disagrees with you. That is your right of course. One thing is certain, you have not to my personal satisfaction convinced me that I am wrong, but this county is made up of left and right, and conflicts of such a nature are inevitable.

    I stand by the smokers on this one, point blank. There is no need for me to reiterate my points, everyone has seen them and will draw their own conclusions. I think you have serious issues. Serious.

    To anyone else who reads these posts, apologies for the rudeness of this person who takes a rational debate and turns it into an opportunity to debase people he or she does not know by calling then hypocrites. Just remember, today it is the smokers. Tomorrow it may be the overweight. Once you start allowing a complete ban on any select group of people (be it skydivers, people who wear turbans, or whatever) you open the door for discrimination of ANY and all groups. It is a pity that people cannot see past their loathing of smoking to capture the essence of what this entire issue is about. Truly a shame. We can stand up for our rights, or we can remain sheeple and take whatever intrusions into our lives the corporate world has to offer. I will tell you one thing; I doubt they would try this crap in a good job market. Power to the people. Good luck to all.

  • Sheila

    P.S. Please consider a boycott on any company that openly discrimates against any group of people. Your own rights may be next to go. Thank you.

    • Dustin

      Scotts Lawn Care Just Filled Out an App And yes the have a policy they dont hire smokers and give a nicotine test….I was blown away i have never seen this on an app im not even going to waste my time going to this interview…Im just wowed that this is legal. We smokers get a bad rap i mean everyone smoked up to the 70’s and now people hate smokers cause they are control freaks who want to dictate peoples lives….Im not going to quit smoking on principle that other people shouldn’t have a say in my life THIS IS AMERICA PEOPLE

    • Cori

      You show them…..keep on smoking, get cancer, that’ll show’em who’s the boss!

    • JanetteMarshallGood

      Cancer has been on the rise since the smoking went down. The science has been skewed to raise rates on insurance policies. There is no scienitfice basis for their argument.

    • Poop

      So when you land on disability from type II diabetes (that was brought on by smoking) that is so bad you have to have a leg amputated, and additionally require oxygen 24/7, as well as the eventual PE or stroke you will suffer, and you rack up millions of dollars of medical care that has to be covered by medicare/medicaid and or written off by a private company, then that is just your life isn’t it? No tax payers are paying for your medical care, and no businesses are loosing money on trying to keep your rotten body alive because you were foolish and chose to waste your money on cigarettes and waste your health on an addiction that you were too much of a pu**y to beat.

      Quite the contrary Dustin: it is you that are having a say in other people’s lives. And just because people used to do it doesn’t make it a good thing. There is NOTHING good that comes from smoking. There is no real defense, except your addiction. I know, I smoked a pack a day for 11 years.

    • JanetteMarshallGood

      Diabetes is NOT brought on by smoking but eating and the HFCS that Monsanto is allowed to stick in your food.

    • JanetteMarshallGood

      How fat have you gotten since your quit? How many new meds are you on since you quit. Look at self first.

    • penslinger

      I have friends that smoke and you wouldn’t know it unless you saw them with a cigarette in their hand. But many of the people who come into the store I work at, their breath, their clothes smell so bad they make my eyes water and I have to cough. Additionally, in a loosely structured work environment, like the store I work at, those who smoke take no less than three breaks per eight hour shift. That is unfair to their coworkers because it creates an unequal division of labor, as well as being very unproductive.

  • Common Sense

    You say: To anyone else who reads these posts, apologies for the rudeness of this person who takes a rational debate and turns it into an opportunity to debase people he or she does not know by calling then hypocrites.

    Question: Am I debasing you by calling you a hypocrite or are you debasing yourself by being a hypocrite?

    Don’t you find it ironic that you are so upset that I called you out as a “hypocrite”, but you in turn find it okay to call me “absurd”. Why is it not okay for me to describe you with a name, but okay for you to call me a name. (I think I just caught you being a hypocrite…again.)

    BTW, since we are speaking about hypocrites and since you are so knowledgeable (cough, cough) on constitutional rights, I can’t remember did you say you were for or against the individual mandate?

    You say: “One thing is certain, you have not to my personal satisfaction convinced me that I am wrong”.
    I have to say, I am not the least bit surprised. You strike me as the type of person who will dig their heals in and fight no matter what mountains of evidence are presented. As the matter of fact you continue to insist this “issue is one of constitutionality…” even after I have presented ample evidence that it is not. I have asked what your basis is for this assertion. You give no basis, you don’t refute my evidence, you simply ignore it and continue repeating it like a broken record. Why? Do you not understand how unreasonable you come off. (since you feel the need to apologize for me being “rude”, I must say that I feel the need to let you know that I am a little embarrassed for you for being so obtuse.)

    I really find it sad that you (a person who would go to the mat to protect “constitutional” rights) would deny an employer the “RIGHT” to discriminate against sky diving c.e.o’s. Employer’s need to know that their workforce is safe with and would like to expect a reasonable amount of caution amongst their key employes in order for their business to operate efficiently. But you would deny business owners this because people have “rights”.

    Sure people have rights, but those rights stop when they start infringing on the rights of others. The smokers/sky divers have the right to practice their dangerous habits. No one is denying them those rights. They do not have the right to expect that potential employers put their business in jeopardy due to the applicant’s recklessness.

    I don’t believe I will be responding to your future comments, I feel as though we are wasting others time and I can not bear the thought of you telling us again how someone has lost their rights or how the 4th amendment should protect smokers. It is insufferable.

  • Sheila

    What’s that old saying, “give someone enough rope and they will hang themselves?” Yep. Please see the post above and do try to contain your amusement. Blessings to all. Geesh what can we do when people are such ranters?

  • Sheila

    PS I do believe calling someone “absurd” in retaliation for them first calling you a “hypocrite” is probably justified by the exhibited behavior. I am amused. Nothing you say makes one little iota of difference, but you are just so silly I had to point it out.

  • HR_Today

    “A boycott”?!?!?!? Really Sheila? How about individuals boycott your business for telling them what they can and can’t do? You want to pay the extra $$$ to insure smokers be my guest. Hell while you are at it, put in a few vending machines so you know workers have smokes at all times! That is YOUR company’s choice. I am sure “certain” employees will flock to your company culture because of this just as I am sure “certain” employees will run from it. Not all will agree but business is all about making decisions that won’t please everyone. I hope it works out for you.

  • Sarah

    Sheila, From the evidence presented here and my understanding of the constitution, private employers banning smokers does not seem to me to be a fourth amendment issue nor an issue of constitutionality in any form. Your continued persistence that it is a constitutional issue contrary to all the facts is very perplexing. Maybe I am missing something, please tell us reasoning behind your assertion. Just saying something again and again does not make it true.

    I really don’t think Common Sense has “hung” himself, he may be overly hung up on the constitution, but his comments seem pretty accurate. His examples (rhinotillexomania and sky-divers) may seem absurd at first, but they do make excellent points.

    Common Sense, I believe you are correct that this is not an issue of constitutionality nor does it rise to the level of requiring another protected class. However smoking bans are still a concern and employers should think twice before implementing them. I believe Sheila is somewhat correct when she says she doubts employers would “try this crap in a good job market.” It may come to backfire on them eventually. Sheila also makes a good point about “the obese” being a probable next target. Some employers may take issue with the fact that obese employee’s are expensive and are considered a major driver in the escalating health insurance cost, but when/if they do they will need to be careful, as they might be cutting their nose to spite their face.

    In the end though, it is an employer’s choice to choose who they employ, just as it is often the individual’s choice to become obese and smoke. Smoking and obesity hardly justify EEOC intervention or special discrimination protections.

  • Sheila

    Boycott. Yes. As I said, next it will be discrimination of the overweight people and diabetics. (I mean using your line of reasoning, perhaps we should put candy machines in to give them both a chance to have sweets at all times.) Truly you are unable to see that this is discrimination.

    I suppose when it hits a point where entires segments of law abding citizens become unemployable for living their lives and we all have to support them with public assistance that will somehow be cost savings enough for folks who feel as you do. This ban won’t last anyway, but thanks for playing.

  • MMAN

    @Sheila and the rest of this crowd, if the complaints about hiring smokers revolve around health insurance skyrocketing…charge them the higher premiums, if it is about taking additional breaks to smoke…enforce the rules…if it is about taking time off…be consistent with the absenteeism policy, or if it is about smoking on the employer’s premises, develop a tobacco free policy, implement it and stick to it. I just think it’s going too far to have a blanket policy to simply ban smokers. Next you will have another argument that could state something like this…minorities have higher tobacco use rates and enforcing this policy will have a disparate impact (not saying that it does but what if). Moreover, will this policy be applied consistently? If not, it is unethical…for instance would a healthcare institution refuse to hire a skilled surgeon (very hard to find) simply because they smoke while they have a policy not to hire smokers? Will a manufacturing facility not hire an engineer for a hard to fill engineer position because they are a smoker? In other words, can businesses say they will at all times hold to this policy if they have one, if not it is unethical. For you drinkers out there, would it bother you if you were told you couldn’t have a job since you drink which is a legal activity (as long as you did it on your own time anyway)? Gosh how many big wigs would this prevent from getting a job?

  • Common Sense

    @ MMAN. I absolutely agree that raising smoker’s health premiums is probably a better choice than banning smokers for most companies. But it does not matter whether or not a company bans smokers or simply makes them pay more for their health insurance, there will always be people with “moral compasses” crying for boycotts because the practice of charging more has a “disparate impact” on protected classes (which should apparently now include smokers) and/or is “unconstitional” because the 4th amendment guarantee’s against it.

    P.S. It should be noted that unlike smoking, drinking is not purely a negative activity. There have been numerous studies that have shown many positive effects from a daily drink.

  • Sheila

    @MMAN. You echo my sentiments. I fail to see how excersing the draconian measure of discrimination against an entire class of people, rather than address whatever true issues one has with specific workers, is unfair. We would argue law back and forth — knowing full well that laws evolve to resolve conflicts such as this and that 29 states already have smokers protection laws in place for just this reason.

    In the vendetta against smoking, no one seems to want to stnad up for these folks. They aren’t a protected class under EEOC; yet one of the criteria the EEOC uses to determine discrimination is abilty to perform the required job duties in a manner equal to those in a non-excluded class. I fail to see this test being made with any degree of accuracy against smokers. If people allow this, they are indeed (whether or not they will admit it to themselves) opening a door which will ultimately lead to other forms of discrimination. I fail to see the need to treat 20% of the working class as unemployable over this. Sorry. That is how I feel.

  • MMAN

    @Common Sense…you are right to feel that banning smokers from employment doesn’t violate the constitution. On the other hand, I truly do not feel that any company placing a blanket ban on smokers is reflective of our values as a society in the U.S. So legally, companies can discriminate against smokers (if your business is not located in one of the 29 states that make it illegal to do so) but does that necessarily mean that reflects the values of society. Absolutely not. I feel most in our society feel that freedom of individual choice in private matters outweighs corporate profits and/or costs. So, while a business is certainly free to discriminate against smokers if once again they are in the right state, the values of a free society just may drive our legal system to declare the practice illegal.

    On another note, the question an organization must consider when deciding whether or not to institute such a measure is whether the company has a proactive or reactive equal employment opportunity policy (reflective of the organization’s values). To illustrate look at the following two statements. While this type of policy could be in-line with one, it may not be in the other.

    All employment decisions will be made without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion etc. or

    All employment decisions will be made based on merit and qualifications and without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.

    As one can see, the first statement basically only serves to meet legal requirements (reactive) while the second serves to be more proactive to ensure the company doesn’t discriminate while attempting to hire the best person for the job (which could be a smoker by the way). With this said, I doubt the issue of whether a person smokes or not would qualify as “merit and qualifications.”

    P.S. Please know that I do not smoke and hate the habit.

  • Sheila

    I dislike when people attempt to tell me what I believe, and I also dislike when someone attempts to bring my reasoning to a conclusion which is not mine at all.

    For the record. I am against discrimination of a large group of people and testing those same people for a legal substance. This does not escalate into my crying “boycott” over the fact that they may pay higher insurance rates for their desired choices; anymore than I would resent paying higher insurance rates if I were older and buying term life insurance. That this had to be brought up as an argument is simply not relevent, because it is simply conjecture on the part of someone who cannot speak for me.

    It is good to see someone finally acknowledge that it probably is a “better choice” to charge more on insurance as opposed to painting a whole group of people as unhirable over something that has NO BEARING on their ability to perform their duties.

    I say more people ought to develop a “moral compass” — if someone does not speak up when they see wrong being done you wind up with crap like Nazi Germany in WW2. (May it never be again.) And it is nice to see someone pointing out the benefits of a drink. There was a time in this country when that too was illegal. What it boils down to in my estimation is the right of people to live their personal lives in peace. Don’t smoke at work. Don’t take excessive time off, don’t take excessive breaks, and pay your smoker’s premium. ALL of that is perfectly acceptable to me. All of it is adult, rational and non-discriminatory. But testing us for legal substances when in fact it has absolutely no bearing upon our ability to perform the job, well, that is just not acceptable. At least not to me. And I vote too. LOL

  • Common Sense

    Sheila May 1: “I dislike when people attempt to tell me what I believe, and I also dislike when someone attempts to bring my reasoning to a conclusion which is not mine at all… It is simply conjecture on the part of someone who cannot speak for me.

    Sheila one week earlier referring to me: “People with your mind set think that everything the private employer does is ok and should not be questioned.”


    Oh my, I said the ‘”H” word in an appropriate “debasing” manner. I must have lost my moral compass again.

    Actually I applaud the fact that you would not “boycott over the fact that they may pay higher insurance rates for their desired choices” I am sorry if I did jump to the conclusion that you may have boycotted. But in my defense, It was not so much a jump as much as a natural step. Your calling for a boycott seemed a definite possibility after reading your comments bemoaning insurance companies for obtaining data. You said you could “predict with a fair amount of certainty that the insurance companies will use this information to further raise rates.” You do sometimes consider the gathering of pertinent underwriting information “yet another intrusion into our lives by corporate interests.” And you did “also suggest, highly, to anyone with a moral compass that they should boycott any company that proceeds with this testing and discrimination policy in an open manner.”

    So let me see if I understand your position, you don’t deny insurance companies or employers the ability to gather pertinent personal data about smoking habits and charge accordingly, only the ability for insurance companies to gather pertinent information about driving habits to charge accordingly. Now that I know that there is a random line, I will try hard not to step over it. One question: What happens if the insurance company asks a client about smoking while driving? Before answering, let’s remember, no one is forcing you to buy a particular type of auto insurance or health insurance (Obamacare being the obvious exception).

    Sheila: “I say more people ought to develop a “moral compass” — if someone does not speak up when they see wrong being done you wind up with crap like Nazi Germany in WW2.”

    I refer to Godwin’s law.

    In the end though, I don’t think we are as far a part on this issue as both of us may have originally thought. Sure, you continue to stubbornly assert (despite all credible evidence to the contrary) that The 4th amendment and the constitution somehow dictate who private employers can employ and I don’t, but at least it appears that we both believe that charging higher rates for smokers is preferable to outright banning them from the workplace. I think that is good common ground that most everyone can agree with.

  • Sheila

    @commonsense: I made a statement about your supporting what the corporation says being ok and not questioned based upon your comment. “If an employer thinks he/she is more competitive by refusing to hire smokers, what business is it of the government?” and “These smokers cost the business money, if the business decides that it would rather bring on a non-smoking employee that would save the company money they should have the right to do so. ”

    Your comments are skewed on one hand because you say, “Sure people have rights, but those rights stop when they start infringing on the rights of others.” Then somehow act as if what smokers do on their own time infringes upon the rights of someone offering them wages to perform a task — “The smokers/sky divers have the right to practice their dangerous habits. No one is denying them those rights. They do not have the right to expect that potential employers put their business in jeopardy due to the applicant’s recklessness.” I just fail to see how in the Hell, when smoking on site is prohibited, when smokers pay their fair share of insurance, are made to adhere to policies regarding attendance and breaks, and in no way fail to measure up in their job performance, how in the Hell you consider THAT to somehow be in infringement upon the rights of an employer. That is why I made the remark.

    It is hardly the same as your liberty at making an extrapolation that next I would be saying “But it does not matter whether or not a company bans smokers or simply makes them pay more for their health insurance, there will always be people with “moral compasses” crying for boycotts because the practice of charging more has a “disparate impact” on protected classes ..” Note “Charging more for insurance.” I never said THAT, and it was evident you were referring to me.

    Taking 20% of our population and putting them out of work for jobs they have to date performed in a satisfactory manner (yes existing workers have had to leave the workforce over this tripe) or to refuse to hire them at all, or to make random testing for a legal substance (and I know you will all beat me about the 4th amendment — but by God WHEN did it become ok to randomly test us for any and all substances?) seem very un-American to me. Very pro- Corporation. And it isn’t the corporations who are suffering in this blasted economy — it is the workers.

    It is just wrong. It may be legal (at present) but in no way is it just to intrude upon these people for this unless and until their actual job performance is in question. I frankly am hoping someone can see this for what it will be: the next step towards obese people not being hirable; the next little loss of privacy inflicted upon us. I cannot agree with you sir (or madam) for to do so flies in the face of fairness for all parties involved. Corporations should only be setting the rules for what occurs on their job, and passing on legitimate insurance premiums, and job performance.

    If I am smoking and I pay my bills, and I show up to work, and I do well on my job performance reviews; how then shall an employer decide to let me go, or to not hire me in the first place? It is stupid to the ‘nth degree. Don’t for a minute delude yourself into believing it will stop at smokers. And at the end of the day, complacency and a misguided sense of what the employers should be able to demand such as yours (in my opinion) shall be the paved road this discrimination drives down. You are blind.

  • Common Sense

    I really don’t know why we are still arguing. We both agree on the main point that employers should not ban smokers, but rather charge them more for insurance premiums.

    We just so happen to disagree on the issue of whether or not smokers should be considered a protected class. I don’t believe that people who willingly destroy their own bodies by inhaling cancer sticks should be considered a special legally protected class. You do. But, because of my belief, you have alleged that I and people who think the same as me must be devoid of a “moral compass”. And it is people like me who don’t speak out against these types of wrongs that we “wind up with the crap like Nazi Germany in WW2.”
    I can live with your assertion and am willing to let it go. I simply agree to disagree. Let’s not argue about it anymore.

    I am sorry, I don’t mean to beat you up about the constitution and wish I did not feel the need to keep bringing it up. I was simply looking for an apology or an even an admission that you were wrong. But you kept digging in your heals. It is after all a matter of fact and not opinion.

  • TexasRed70

    I have to ask……if you can ban a smoker because of legitimate health care cost concerns…..can we ban obese people too? Their healthcare costs can become quite astronomical.

    • RNorfolk

      We could just have a mass genocide to get rid of everyone instead of starving them out by unemployment. Long live the elite. How about this. Employ them but put limits on benefits. That makes too much sense. Personally I don’t want benefits, I just want a damn income so I can pay for my self improvement. This world is rigged though. By this thinking half the population should just be slated upon birth because they are going to be exiled by poverty anyways.

  • Carina Naveen

    I run a small business and it has been my experience that the smokers I have been less productive, require more breaks and miss more work than nonsmokers. Also, I want smart people working for me, and young people who smoke are not smart. Therefore, I have and will continue to hire only nonsmokers for my business.

    • Shar

      That’s fine Carina. I’m a smoker and if I can’t get hired for a job, I’ll just sit my ass at home, collect from your tax dollars and smoke all day long!! Boy did you convince me to quit….. my job!

  • Mass

    personal choice I have smoked for 20 years and never get sick. I only call out so I won’t lose my sick days…It’s a personal choice and it’s plain discrimination. What if someone choices to eat a bucket of fried chicken every night and drink a six pack? Neither is illegal and yet only one is being denied the opportunity for a job even if they are qualified.

  • Kevin Howell

    This just creates another class of disabled people. If you ever smoked or were or are over weight, you will become reduced to Social Security Disability. The world needs fewer and fewer people in the workforce as time goes on.

  • Mr Fireworks

    I am working as a recruiter and do all of the hiring for a large fireworks/Halloween chain and I am told to not hire anyone that isn’t white for managers and only men for area managers. I am told to write HN on the black candidates resumes, which stands for Hood N____R. I really need this job but this is so wrong I actually hired a black friend of mine and they fired him after they found out. What should I do?

  • omg

    Class-action coming to a State near you!!! Unprecedented and unacceptable! When, where, and how deep will this rabbit hole go …DNA Swabs

  • christina

    I am a certified surgical technologists that went to college and graduated with honors yet I can’t find a job because I smoke cigarettes. I can see not being allowed to smoke before or during the workday but banning people who smoke from Applying is ridiculous.

  • Pam

    Okay, granted, there are no laws on protecting smokers. However, the discrimination clause states to not discriminate against class, gender, race, sexual orientation, or status. Status is the key word here. Status could mean an alcoholic, a smoker, a shopaholic, a drug addict, etc. Who skipped this part in this so called research? And, if my state has protection for smokers as you say, why is Centra allowed to turn away smokers? Due to this, our local emergency room will take 5 hours in a waiting room because they are understaffed. In 2013, I went there with a fever of 104. I fell asleep in the waiting room. After waoting two hours, the manager comes out to tell us that it would be another 5 hour wait. I couldbt take it anymore. I left, went to my normal doctor the next day and was seen within 15 minutes. Turns out, I had mastitis. Which can and has killed women. All of this hassle because Centra is so full of their snooty selves, they won’t hire smokers. Tho, you say, we have protection here. Where?

  • Melissa

    I don’t smoke, although I would fail a pre-employment nicotine test easily.. I do currently work around client’s, or patron’s who smoke… Sometime cannot be avoided, despite my efforts of not walking through their puff’s. lol.
    BTW: **** The ‘nicotine testing’ is only to separate out the new more ‘active’ aka non- lazy break taking new applicant’s/employee’s- From the always taking break’s smokers every 30 mins btw.. that is the ONLY result of actually doing this-
    WHY these employer’s request it, yet use the smoking ban instead, cause they’re dishonest.. ;o)
    I used to smoke year’s ago.. I would rather have HAPPY Employee’s- Not grouchy just quitting employee’s who are going to lie to me, AFTER their system is clean.. Each their own.. My thought on that.. FREE WILL.. And would be pissed off IF someone told me I cannot do something I’d enjoy that IS sold very legal either. So..I respect other’s, so limited to the area of where I’d smoke.. those little area’s for employee’s ect, yet telling me WTF I can and cannot do on MY time.. Ummmmm NO.

    Even when trying not to subject myself directly to any smoking area’s. Think it’s ridiculous is all.. Even for Health Insurance.. I have known throughout the past 20 year’s patient’s, along with a Friends Mother who passed from Lung Cancer… NOT due to smoking.. They hadn’t smoked,nor their spouses and lives a VERY healthy lifestyle..

    They were rarely ill prior to being diagnosed also…Yet, sadly had developed lung Cancer..

    And a few had other illness… Normal statistics of what our wonderful Health care insurance companies would consider had, or were directly related from “smoke”…

    (Neither caused…Second hand smoke either ect).. Cleaning chemicals actually caused illness for one person, which caused her lung Cancer.. (clean freak). My point.. ANYONE and ANY time can develop any form of illnesses from anything.. Not solely around smoke, so when my Husband’s Insurance company suddenly began removing an extra $50 from EACH paycheck, additionally to our normal 401K, taxes , excellent insurances costs each check was just a horrible loss…..

    He began working with the Company and missed their testing dead line, so everyone who didn’t take their physical/nicotine test would have to be subjected for 12 month’s/fiscal year of paying an extra $100 monthly, basically to cover when one ‘smokes’, since the Insurance companies lame terrible greedy $$$ stealing excuse was that smokers rise up their fee’s for being ill, low immune systems ect….

    I honestly think that is BS! I work in medical and can tell you NO.. It’s not… other poor choices.. drinking, drugs/meds, normal genetic problems, accident’s ect.. whatever DOES..Will.. So, I was furious when he told me this on his payday.. Doesn’t matter if it was even $1, or the $50.. still should NOT be done.. regardless!

    Cause it IS an umbrella discrimination….

    Also our Insurance was HIGH enough for our Family, then adding more money to ‘cover’… IF we smoked and more health concerns…. How about weather temp fluxes/changes in SW Florida.. that happens and we all begin to get sick- (resp wise)..

    So…..Health Insurance Co.——> Nope.. VERY Lame excuse .. More $$$$$$$ for greed!

    We’re fighting this “smoke” extra fee non-sense currently, as we have several more months before the 12 month period ceases and I’d like to have that $100 monthly back..

    if in public and someone walks by with a lit cigarette and I catch the smoke…BAM! Instant Fail… I also worked in a Lab and YES… It will come up… (One breath in -Positive)

    Simple thing’s as such CAN happen. Which would fail their bias weeding through the rest testing, so I don’t truly think they are really thinking THAT Factor through and also going to loose great employee’s during that process, if so….

  • Melissa

    What people do on their own time and in their own home is their own business. This ban on smoking issues is in regards to Obama Care and the increase in costs. I read some of the comments on here and really people? This is about people’s basic rights. This is just the beginning, cause we all know that cigarettes must be the cause of ALL Cancer, just like guns are the cause of all deaths………………………………

  • Joe

    Interesting. If companies can discriminate against someone for using nicotine, a perfectly legal product, I wonder if they can discriminate against anything else. For instance alcohol. We all know alcohol isn’t good for you, but it is also perfectly legal to imbibe, and causes a series of health risks. Along with that nicotine test, lets put an alcohol blood test. How about Twinkies. Let’s start banning people who eat sugary products, because that can lead to diabetes. Or maybe me put a ban on people who drive gas guzzlers. Those cause air pollution. OOOOHHH, how about banning employment for people with cats or dogs, People are allergic to pet dander, and it stinks. Just thought of this one, how about banning employment for people who eat peanuts. Nut allergies can cause death rapidly. Can you image the wonderful workplace we would have, and how “easy” it will be to find talent. How hard could it be to find a skilled worker that doesn’t smoke, drink, eat sugary products, doesn’t drive a gas guzzler, doesn’t have animals, and doesn’t eat peanuts. We would have a group of employees that fit perfectly.

    I kind of went on a rant. I don’t smoke. A company shouldn’t be able to dictate what someone does away from their place of business. That is kind of what I was trying to get across. Discriminating against someone for using a perfectly legal product is wrong. I don’t like the smell of smoke, but I support the persons freedom to do so on their own time.

  • midwestbarbie

    I am not a pro corporation person, in fact I hate corporate America and those who pay their employees a pittance and actually believe they work harder and their ridiculous salaries are earned. In fact its all starting to come home to bite them (studies show that there are fewer and fewer consumers who can buy their products) and how many yachts and mansions does one billionaire really need? Sorry, getting on my high horse, but I cannot agree that smokers don’t infringe on the rights of others. The companies group health insurance rates are much lower if they don’t hire smokers, and everyones rates are higher if they do. Group rates are just that. They look at the overall risk of the group in general. It is probably possible to raise only the smokers rates or add a surcharge to their monthly employee share and do random testing etc but they probably just choose not to because it would be much more complicated. And everyone pays taxes for Medicare and Medicaid which, again, is costing non smokers as well. And if some of you are trying to make a case that you are not any less healthy than your non smoking coworkers, just give it a rest. The research doesn’t lie. You may be fine now but if you continue to smoke you will definitely have some ill effects. Maybe not before you retire from your job, but then the rest of us will have to pay for your medical expenses under Medicare.