More U.S. job-seekers are dealing with an added requirement before they will land a job: no smoking at work or anytime.
But, to this point in Tennessee, just one hospital firm, in Chattanooga, has gone so far as to block people who smoke from being hired. And a few say a 22-yr-old state legislation pushed via by tobacco lobbyists may be taking part in a job in turning other businesses away from exploring the concept.
Under that 1990-period legislation, employers are barred from firing workers for using authorized “agricultural merchandise” comparable to tobacco, though there’s no mention about smoking as a think about choices on who will get employed.
“That’s a grey area in the statute,” said Kara Shea, an lawyer within the employment legislation practice group at Miller & Martin PLLC in Nashville. “I positively tell employers in Tennessee: ‘Don’t fire individuals because (they) smoke.’ Hiring, I inform them that it’s risky, however not illegal.”
The one East Tennessee hospital that makes hiring choices by taking smoking habits into consideration contends it took that step to set a good instance, not essentially to chop well being-care bills.
“A part of our mission is to create healthier communities and the perfect place to start that's in our immediate group — our hospitals,” said Brian Lazenby, spokesman for Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga.
Memorial, whose father or mother is Denver-primarily based not-for-profit Catholic Health Initiatives, turned away a dozen job applicants last year based on the coverage it first introduced almost two years ago.
“Now we have seen a lower within the quantity of (medical) claims, however we are able to’t actually attribute it to being because of not hiring smokers or any other programs we’re doing to make our staff healthier,” Lazenby said.
A year ago, the board of trustees of Cookeville Regional Medical Center thought of adding non-smoking to requirements for being employed at that hospital, but trustees determined against pursuing such a policy.
Steve Qualls, an attorney in Cookeville who chaired the hospital’s board when the coverage came up, stated questions arose about whether or not individuals who have been obese or heavy drinkers, which drive well being-care prices up as properly, ought to be subject to comparable policies.
“We thought that attempting to monitor that may just be too cumbersome and too pricey,” Qualls said.
As bans on smoking in public places sweep the U.S., an increasing variety of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won’t rent applicants whose urine exams constructive for nicotine use, whether or not cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and even patches.
Lately, smoke-free workplaces turned a buzzword as extra employers moved to discourage employees from lighting up on the job as a part of efforts to enhance employee health and rein in rising medical prices.
Now, more employers nationwide are going a step additional by requiring urine checks for nicotine and putting in new policies against hiring smokers.
Such tobacco-free hiring insurance policies, designed to promote well being and scale back insurance coverage premiums, took effect just lately on the Baylor Health Care System in Texas and can apply at the Hollywood On line casino in Toledo, Ohio, when it opens this 12 months.
In Tennessee, annual health-care costs straight caused by smoking are estimated at $2.16 billion, with smoking-brought on productiveness losses within the state estimated at $2.ninety six billion, in accordance with the Marketing campaign for Tobacco Free Kids report.
Not everybody agrees with the don’t rent people who smoke motion, and even within the public well being community the difficulty stirs a degree of concern.
“These policies signify employment discrimination. It’s a really dangerous precedent,” says Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston College’s School of Public Well being. He says the restrictions punish people who smoke rather than helping them give up.
Federal laws don't contemplate this form of no-smoking hiring coverage unlawful as a result of they don’t acknowledge smok