Employers Discriminate Against Smokers

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As more companies start putting policies in place that they will not hire smokers as an Ohio Hospital did we will start to see a shift and dynamic where people will be forced to quit smoking just to remain employed or be employable in the future. We all know that smoking is bad for ones health, but should an employer have the right to deny employment if you are a smoker?

The answer is really yes from a business perspective.  Smokers typically take more breaks than non-smokers which cuts into productivity time.  Smokers have higher rates of health problems which only aggravates the health care costs and employers have to fit their health care bills in many cases.  If a company employees only non-smoking people it likely will get cost savings from health insurance providers which in turns means lower costs to employee’s for group insurance.  This is in theory, I don’t know if this is actually being done or employed yet but this technically should lead to lower health costs for both employers and employee’s I would think.

The question though remains is that what is next?  Will employers not hire people because they are 50 or more pounds overweight?  (You already see this type of bias in certain industries where image and physical appearance is key).  Will employers not employ people who have questionable lifestyles?  (Again, the more we see social media as a way to connect employees with a company, the more a company must care about how an employee represents himself since you are a representative for your company whether you like it or not).

Bottom line:

Companies and employers will start dictating and adjusting their policies to make sure their employees have the highest chance of not only being productive, but also represent the company in a good way.  There is bias, and there is “discrimination” and the list of items measured and discriminated against will only grow over time.

-Justin Germino

WPX Support

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Updated: February 17, 2010 — 12:43 am