Author Topic: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?  (Read 12365 times)

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Offline Phoenix87x

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My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« on: March 08, 2014, 07:14:41 PM »
I work in a hospital as a pharmacy student/technician.

For a few years now the hospital's policy was that no smoking was permitted anywhere on the premises, but a couple weeks ago I got a letter in the mail that said flat out that starting March 1st that my hospital and all hospitals within the network would no longer hire "nicotine users" aka smokers.

From March 1st forward an applicant would have to take a drug test and if any trace of nicotine was found in their system, their application would be rejected, and even if hired they would be subject to random drug testing in the future, which if nicotine was found in their system they would be terminated.

As a non-smoker this does't effect me personally, but as far as I'm concerned, what a person does in their own home is their business, especially with a legal substance, but I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

(this policy also applies to janitors, grounds keepers, cooks, and maintenance people as well, not just "health care professionals" such as doctors, nurses, ect.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 07:29:08 PM by Phoenix87x »
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Offline jammindude

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 07:20:30 PM »
As an ex-2 pack a day smoker, I have to say that I'm looking forward to the day when nicotine ISN'T legal....hopefully that will come soon.

I can see where they are coming from.   It's about representing the interests of your trade.   Smoking while you're working for health care is like working for Microsoft and everything you own is a Mac....kindof a conflict of interests. 
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Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 07:28:58 PM »
A private employer has the ability to hire who they want, particularly if their policy is clearly against the mission of their institution.  Working in the health care industry, it sounds like they want you to take care of yourself.  Putting it on paper and making it public helps protect them against protected types of discrimination (say hiring no black people).

Two years ago I put in application at two schools that required the candidate to match the religious affiliation of the school.  I didn't get an interview at either of them, and after seeing who they hired, both schools decided to take a vastly inferior candidate - I have to assume it was strictly a religious matter because one only had a M.S. degree (despite the posting saying Ph.D. required), and the other had rather glaring red flags in his C.V., and probably was only going to be hired by a school who was disqualifying about 99% of applicants out of the gate.
     

Offline black_biff_stadler

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 07:31:15 PM »
I hate cigarettes and a very big chunk of smokers in general considering how absurdly discourteous most are but I think it's incomprehensibly intrusive of them to do this especially since alcohol and bad diets are apparently still copacetic for them.
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Offline Shadow Ninja 2.0

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2014, 07:35:53 PM »
If they're not smoking on the job, I don't see why it would be a problem, but I think it's the hospital's right to put the policy in place if that's what they want.
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Offline MinistryOfLostSouls

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 07:49:35 PM »
Oh man, what a relief, you meant cigarettes. 


Offline millahh

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2014, 08:03:09 PM »
There are some smokers that absolutely reek of smoke, and that can be a respiratory irritant.  I've stepped into in an empty elevator in a non-smoking building, and the smoke odor from whoever had been in there prior was overpowering.  So it's not like the smell stays confined to the designated smoking areas.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2014, 08:14:41 PM »
A private employer has the ability to hire who they want, particularly if their policy is clearly against the mission of their institution.  Working in the health care industry, it sounds like they want you to take care of yourself.  Putting it on paper and making it public helps protect them against protected types of discrimination (say hiring no black people).
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I will say that while I agree that a company should be able to hire or not hire anybody they want, it's not currently the case. Private companies do have to offer equal opportunities to candidates of certain classes, and while smokers aren't really considered a class it does seem like a lousy precedent. Being a fat-fuck is an unhealthy lifestyle, so should they also not hire them? Could they refuse to hire an NRA member because guns are bad? Drinkers? People with points on their driver's record? Vegetarians (or meat-eaters) depending on which one they think is better?

My bigger concern is that they're taking a somewhat narrow minded approach. What about e-cig smokers? Nicotine patches? By relying on drug screens to look for nicotine they're effecting people who aren't putting themselves at a significant health risk.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 08:39:50 PM »
I think a hospital has several justifiable reasons to not hire smokers. One is, if the whole campus is non-smoking, a regular smoker needs to go to extraordinary lengths to get his fix. In a profession where attendance can be crucial, you can't have somebody who disappears for 15 minutes every hour because it takes a while to get off the premises.
Another is, while e-cigs exist, most smokers don't use them, and as millahh pointed out, you don't magically stop being a smoker once you put down the cigarette. You reek of that stuff for about an hour or so.

BTW, I'm pretty sure the hospital doesn't care about the party smokers or the guy who lights a cigar at the end of the day. They try to avoid people whose habit will negatively impact their work.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2014, 08:48:39 PM »
I think a hospital has several justifiable reasons to not hire smokers. One is, if the whole campus is non-smoking, a regular smoker needs to go to extraordinary lengths to get his fix. In a profession where attendance can be crucial, you can't have somebody who disappears for 15 minutes every hour because it takes a while to get off the premises.
Another is, while e-cigs exist, most smokers don't use them, and as millahh pointed out, you don't magically stop being a smoker once you put down the cigarette. You reek of that stuff for about an hour or so.
If somebody's smoking habit effects their work then you have perfectly valid grounds to sack him. "He couldn't do his job to our satisfaction." End of story. If somebody has no problem only smoking during designated breaks then he's not a liability. Also, I've seen e-cig usage increase dramatically over the last couple of years. Far more than I expected. They actually do seem to be catching on.

And just to throw a different wrinkle out there, isn't addiction considered a disease now?
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Offline rumborak

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2014, 08:59:18 PM »
Yeah, but just because it's a hospital doesn't mean they have to hire diseased people.

Regarding your other point, it all comes down to essentially "profiling". Will there be a subset of regular smokers who are able to completely have their work unaffected by their habit? Sure. But is it wrong for a hospital to generalize when the vast majority of people with that behavior *have* been a problem? It's the same thing as with racial profiling with the TSA. It's a walk on a political minefield. On the one hand they're trying to optimize their chances of success, on the other they're singling out people.
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Offline MinistryOfLostSouls

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2014, 09:06:51 PM »
That policy won't last.  Someone will sue. They will argue that nicotine is an addiction, and that addition is a disease, and that the hospital doesn't have the right to discriminate against people with diseases. Or someone will get fired for a false positive because they live in a house with a smoker.  They'll win like $800,000 like the woman who sued for the false positive for the poppy seed. 

Though, I think it's amusing that people make a such a big deal about smoking but don't make any fuss at all about the 1,300 leaking EPA Superfund toxic waste dumps in this country. 

"How dare you smoke within my personal boundaries, sir.  Why, how am I supposed to smell the TCE wafting up through the soil from the polluted aquifer under my house?!"

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Smoking is bad!!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 09:12:18 PM by MinistryOfLostSouls »

Offline rumborak

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2014, 09:14:50 PM »
That policy won't last.  Someone will sue. They will argue that nicotine is an addiction, and that addition is a disease, and that the hospital doesn't have the right to discriminate against people with diseases.

I think of all places, a hospital would have the most justifiable right of shunning people with diseases. Pretty sure no hospital will hire a person with hepatitis.
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Offline MinistryOfLostSouls

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2014, 09:32:33 PM »
That policy won't last.  Someone will sue. They will argue that nicotine is an addiction, and that addition is a disease, and that the hospital doesn't have the right to discriminate against people with diseases.

I think of all places, a hospital would have the most justifiable right of shunning people with diseases. Pretty sure no hospital will hire a person with hepatitis.

Medical records are off limits to employers because of HIPPA.  I have a friend who is a pharmacist who keeps getting fired from retail pharmacies for smoking weed.  When this happens he just moves to another state because a positive drug screen is protected medical information.  I'm pretty sure after Walgreen's, Rite Aid, and Fruth, he's working in an emergency room somewhere, stoned out of his mind, listening to DT in his head phones.  :lol

If you did happen to get caught smoking, and get fired, your next employer would never know about it because the hospital wouldn't be able to share things from your medical records to a future employer. 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 10:09:16 PM by MinistryOfLostSouls »

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2014, 09:44:41 PM »
That post is just fantastic :lol
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2014, 10:11:04 PM »
Businesses shouldn't have the legal right to do this.

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Offline orcus116

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2014, 10:14:58 PM »
Businesses have to pay insurance costs too. Perhaps that is coming into play as well?

Offline rumborak

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2014, 10:16:02 PM »
Medical records might be off limits, but blood tests aren't. Quite a few companies have their prospective employees do drug tests beforehand. I would be *very* surprised if a hospital didn't order blood work on their employees so they don't have some idiot with hepatitis spreading it to people with already compromised immune systems.
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Offline orcus116

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2014, 10:19:47 PM »
I was a maintenance worker at a hospital one summer and didn't get tested at all.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2014, 10:39:16 PM »
I think a hospital has several justifiable reasons to not hire smokers. One is, if the whole campus is non-smoking, a regular smoker needs to go to extraordinary lengths to get his fix. In a profession where attendance can be crucial, you can't have somebody who disappears for 15 minutes every hour because it takes a while to get off the premises.
Another is, while e-cigs exist, most smokers don't use them, and as millahh pointed out, you don't magically stop being a smoker once you put down the cigarette. You reek of that stuff for about an hour or so.

 

Not only that, but then you'll have the smokers puffing away in a stall in the bathroom.  I've seen it happen at various places over many years of working.  So basically, the smokers bring that crap into the building, in a sneaky way.

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2014, 10:55:31 PM »
You seem to really dislike smokers.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2014, 11:01:05 PM »
That doesn't even make sense, since I have a bunch of friends who smoke.

I dislike smoking.  I think it is a disgusting habit, and the smell it brings is just awful.  Happily, the tide is slowly turning against smoking in this country.  Granted, we still have a long way to go, as many still insist on sticking with their cancer sticks, but the laws that banned smoking in restaurants and many bars were a great start. :tup :tup

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2014, 11:18:57 PM »
Do you think it's worth it for businesses to intrude in what people do off the clock in order to get rid of smoking though?

(Note, I could be radical here.  I don't think businesses should be able to drug test at all except for extreme circumstances.)
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2014, 11:24:32 PM »
It's not intruding.  If they don't want to hire people who regularly smoke a harmful substance, they have that right, especially since they are a hospital and that kind of unhealthy lifestyle might not be something they want their employees promoting (imagine going to a hospital and the doctor you get is the guy you saw outside puffing away on a cigarette).  Now, I agree with b_f that bad eating habits and drinking alcohol can be even more harmful, but those are much harder to track. And they can't exactly say, "We aren't gonna hire overweight people because they look unhealthy," unless they want to get reamed by society and sued out the ass.  Smoking is the easiest thing to go after, regarding them trying to hire people who they see as healthy.

Offline El Barto

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2014, 11:39:57 PM »
It's not intruding.  If they don't want to hire people who regularly smoke a harmful substance, they have that right, especially since they are a hospital and that kind of unhealthy lifestyle might not be something they want their employees promoting (imagine going to a hospital and the doctor you get is the guy you saw outside puffing away on a cigarette).  Now, I agree with b_f that bad eating habits and drinking alcohol can be even more harmful, but those are much harder to track. And they can't exactly say, "We aren't gonna hire overweight people because they look unhealthy," unless they want to get reamed by society and sued out the ass.  Smoking is the easiest thing to go after, regarding them trying to hire people who they see as healthy.
All of this is why I basically think this whole thing is a bullshit PC statement on the hospital's part. I have no problem with private companies not employing people for whatever reason they choose. However, this really is pretty silly. They're picking out one lifestyle activity to go after because it's currently unpopular and ignoring all others that share the same characteristic they supposedly object to.
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Offline MinistryOfLostSouls

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2014, 11:42:56 PM »
That doesn't even make sense, since I have a bunch of friends who smoke.

I dislike smoking.  I think it is a disgusting habit, and the smell it brings is just awful.  Happily, the tide is slowly turning against smoking in this country.  Granted, we still have a long way to go, as many still insist on sticking with their cancer sticks, but the laws that banned smoking in restaurants and many bars were a great start. :tup :tup

I'd be willing to bet the exhaust on your automobile puts out more carcinogens, at a much larger volume, than my cigarette.  I mean, I smoke, but don't drive meaning I emit less pollution than you do, also establishing a lower carbon foot print, while giving me a greener lifestyle than people who choose to drive.  Turns out smoking, over driving is the real winning choice.  The power is YOURS!

Driving is a disgusting habit, too.  People who drive shouldn't be allowed to be employed because they are yucky.  They come into work smelling like gas, exhaust fumes, and pent up early morning taco bell/Miller light farts because the windows were frozen shut from the polar vortex.  People who drive are just gross.  Let 'em starve and add to our unemployment numbers.  That's what I say.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 11:54:46 PM by MinistryOfLostSouls »

Offline KevShmev

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2014, 11:47:27 PM »
It's not intruding.  If they don't want to hire people who regularly smoke a harmful substance, they have that right, especially since they are a hospital and that kind of unhealthy lifestyle might not be something they want their employees promoting (imagine going to a hospital and the doctor you get is the guy you saw outside puffing away on a cigarette).  Now, I agree with b_f that bad eating habits and drinking alcohol can be even more harmful, but those are much harder to track. And they can't exactly say, "We aren't gonna hire overweight people because they look unhealthy," unless they want to get reamed by society and sued out the ass.  Smoking is the easiest thing to go after, regarding them trying to hire people who they see as healthy.
All of this is why I basically think this whole thing is a bullshit PC statement on the hospital's part. I have no problem with private companies not employing people for whatever reason they choose. However, this really is pretty silly. They're picking out one lifestyle activity to go after because it's currently unpopular and ignoring all others that share the same characteristic they supposedly object to.

Fundamentally, I agree with you.  They are picking and choosing, for sure.  And like I said before, smoking is becoming more and more frowned upon by society, so it is easier to go after. 

Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2014, 12:00:18 AM »
It's not intruding.  If they don't want to hire people who regularly smoke a harmful substance, they have that right, especially since they are a hospital and that kind of unhealthy lifestyle might not be something they want their employees promoting (imagine going to a hospital and the doctor you get is the guy you saw outside puffing away on a cigarette).

If the hospital doesn't want them smoking on their property, that's their right.  But by saying you can't smoke at all, they're now controlling what you can't do off the clock.  Does smoking impair your ability to be a doctor?  If not, then what right does the hospital have to tell you you can't.  I get that, under current law, it's probably legal.  But why should we be okay with that?
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Offline TempusVox

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2014, 12:01:52 AM »
A couple of legal points. First, yes, medical records are protected, but the Privacy Rule does not protect you from having your employer gain access for purposes of workers comp, health insurance, sick leave, or wellness programs. Second, more and more employers are basing healthcare costs on employee wellness. Healthcare costs for employees is one of the largest drivers of expense for employers, and they're getting more and more creative to curb those costs. Some employers are now putting penalties on employees who have a high BMI for example, or other co-morbidities if the affected employee refuses to participate in a weight loss program, or smoking cessation class, or diabetes management, etc. All perfectly legal. As for hospitals, having practiced employment law in healthcare in my previous life I can tell you that having a positive tb test will keep you from getting hired in most cases, and if the hospital receives any funds ftom the goverment they're bound by federal law to have a drug free workplace policy in effect with random testing.
And the no nicotine thing is nothing new. So long as its consistent in its application the rule is perfectly legal. For example, you cant say managements excluded. Same goes with pre-employment testing. Overall, in the grand scheme of things employees in the U.S. dont really have too many rights when you get right down to it. Especially when compared to some European countries.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 12:06:55 AM by TempusVox »
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Offline ReaPsTA

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2014, 12:05:32 AM »
A couple of legal points. First, yes, medical records are protected, but the Privacy Rule does not protect you from having your employer gain access for purposes of workers comp, health insurance, sick leave, or wellness programs. Second, more and more employers are basing healthcare costs on employee wellness. Healthcare costs for employees is one of the largest drivers of expense for employees. Some employers are now putting penalties on employees who have a high BMI for example, or other co-morbidities if the affected employee refuses to participate in a weight loss program, or smoking cessation class, etc. All perfectly legal. As for hospitals, having practiced employment law in healthcare in my previous life I can tell you that having a positive tb test will keep you from getting hired in most cases. And the no nicotine thing is nothing new. So long as its consistent in its application the rule is perfectly legal. For example, you cant say managements excluded. Same goes with pre-employment testing. Overall, in the grand scheme of things employees in the U.S. dont really have too many rights when you get right down to it. Especially when compared to some European countries.

The money thing I can accept.  Spending money has real consequences.  Having employees not smoke to reduce healthcare costs isn't social engineering by proxy.
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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2014, 12:06:41 AM »
It's not intruding.  If they don't want to hire people who regularly smoke a harmful substance, they have that right, especially since they are a hospital and that kind of unhealthy lifestyle might not be something they want their employees promoting (imagine going to a hospital and the doctor you get is the guy you saw outside puffing away on a cigarette).

If the hospital doesn't want them smoking on their property, that's their right.  But by saying you can't smoke at all, they're now controlling what you can't do off the clock.  Does smoking impair your ability to be a doctor?  If not, then what right does the hospital have to tell you you can't.  I get that, under current law, it's probably legal.  But why should we be okay with that?

Because, as an employer, it does in fact cost you more money in insurance costs.    Just look at TV's post.   I'm sure BMI enforcement could be right around the corner...BUT, I imagine that they will have to offer an alternative.   I wouldn't be surprised to see health spa stipends....it would be cheaper than the inflated insurance.


EDIT:  Looks like you beat me to the punch.
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Offline TempusVox

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2014, 12:12:51 AM »
BMI is already here. You take a health assessment and your BMI is over a certain threshold, then your employer can tell you you have to participate in a weight loss program of some kind. Your refusal will result in your paying much higher premiums. Its already happening more and more. Your employers renewal on healthcare is based on the companies previous years experience. The carrier is NOT gonna take a loss, so they pass on the renewal. Used to be a long time ago 3-5% on average. Now it's nearly double digits every year. Companies cant afford it. Our healthcare system is FUBAR.
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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2014, 12:22:13 AM »
I believe you.   I only meant that it's coming in the sense that it's going to become the standard.   I don't believe that to be the case currently. 
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Offline MinistryOfLostSouls

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2014, 12:50:41 AM »
A couple of legal points. First, yes, medical records are protected, but the Privacy Rule does not protect you from having your employer gain access for purposes of workers comp, health insurance, sick leave, or wellness programs. Second, more and more employers are basing healthcare costs on employee wellness. Healthcare costs for employees is one of the largest drivers of expense for employers, and they're getting more and more creative to curb those costs. Some employers are now putting penalties on employees who have a high BMI for example, or other co-morbidities if the affected employee refuses to participate in a weight loss program, or smoking cessation class, or diabetes management, etc. All perfectly legal. As for hospitals, having practiced employment law in healthcare in my previous life I can tell you that having a positive tb test will keep you from getting hired in most cases, and if the hospital receives any funds from the goverment they're bound by federal law to have a drug free workplace policy in effect with random testing.
And the no nicotine thing is nothing new. So long as its consistent in its application the rule is perfectly legal. For example, you cant say managements excluded. Same goes with pre-employment testing. Overall, in the grand scheme of things employees in the U.S. dont really have too many rights when you get right down to it. Especially when compared to some European countries.

If this employer is barring future employees from smoking, but not stating that it is releasing all smokers from employment would that grandfather in existing employees? That would mean part of the staff would be allowed to smoke and the other wouldn't.  How would any of this pertain to contractors like IT and doctors?  "Employment" at a hospital means a lot of different things, as you already know.  In another lifetime, in the late 90's I was an IT contractor for a hospital in Ohio.  They tested us contractors for not a single thing.  I wonder if it's still the same.

Offline lonestar

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Re: My Job will no longer hire smokers. Thoughts?
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2014, 01:30:09 AM »
And we inch closer and closer to the Great Nicotine Riots of 2017.....
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