Employee Legal Issue
This week we are discussing employee legal issues. A current issue involves whether employers can refuse to hire smokers in order to save on insurance costs. Several companies have issued such restrictions and have been successful on lawsuits by employees who are smokers.
Atlantic Beach, FL (near Jacksonville) recently instituted a ban on hiring smokers. The city has implemented a policy that says it won't hire anyone who uses tobacco products or tests positive for nicotine.
"The policy, which became effective Feb.1, aims to create a healthier workforce which could boost productivity, reduce sick time and control health insurance inflation, said George Foster, the city's human resource manager. The policy does not affect current workers." (Karkaria, March 1, 2006).
Should an organization be allowed to have such restrictions on hiring employees to save money on insurance costs ie. is this legal discrimination? Why or why not? Note: Please remember that some of your classmates may be smokers, so be sensitive and kind in your remarks.
Karkaria, Urvaksh. Atlantic Beach Imposes Employee Smoking Ban. Jacksonville Times-Union, March 1, 2006. Natty,
No, I think Organizations should not have such restrictions when hiring employees. However, the other face of the coin is that by them doing so they get to save a lot of money in Insurance cost which at the end becomes net profit to the Organization. I know companies need to advocate wellness and importance of being healthy. However, this type of decisions can significantly affect workers in the area of being able to find a job to provide for themselves or their families causing a major impact on the overall economy. If people can’t get a job due to the fact that they smoke, they cannot buy things, they can’t spend money. This can slow the economy and can make an impact on Country’s Capital and spending Budget, and the way money moves with in the Country. The average...