Skip to comments.Denied employment BECAUSE I SMOKE
Posted on 02/22/2013 8:25:37 PM PST by FreedomStar3028
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Discriminatory Hiring Practices
Employment advertisements must be content-neutral. They may not discriminate against applicants based on personal characteristics such as race, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.
When interviewing job applicants, employers may not ask about national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital status, children, or arrest records, although asking about criminal convictions is permissible. A disabled person may be asked if he or she can perform the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.
So as an HR/Payroll professional (who is a smoker and who reports to an HR Director who is also a smoker), IMO and in my interpretation of the statutes, it would seem that they can ask you if you are a smoker or for that matter a recreational illegal drug or legal alcohol user and refuse to hire you based on those grounds alone unless you can claim that your smoking, drug or alcohol use is a protected disability under ADA and one that does not require unreasonable accommodations in order for you to perform your job.
Under these and most other state and federal non-discrimination rules with respect to hiring, an employer could also legally ask you if you engage in extreme sports, or dangerous activitites, i.e. snowboarding, motor cycling, skydiving, hunting, skeet shooting, etc. and refuse you employment based on those answers but then OTHO they cant ask you if you frequent S&M clubs or gay bars and they cant ask you if you engage in extra marital affairs if that is part of your sexual orientation. (eye roll)
But then I found this that may be relevant:
Does Oregon provide employees with protection from smoking-related discrimination?
An employer may not require that an employee refrain from lawful use of tobacco products during nonwork hours as a condition of employment, unless there is a genuine occupational requirement.
If that fails, just say that your smoking tobacco is a big part of both your Native American heritage and your religion; hey if playing Indian Race card worked for Elizabeth Warren, why not for you?
Bogus argument in my real world experience. I watch our insurance costs rise based on our overall company claims. The 2 massive claims that have effected us all are on new borns. One was born premature and the other with heart problems. Using this logic we wouldn't hire anyone in their child bearing years.
1. Smoke breaks...you go off for a smoke break every hour and other non smokers watch you while they work...soon every one takes the 15 minutes break too...
2. My share of paying your health premiums...much more expensive
3. Smoker tend to sick more often...
4. The smell...
Welcome to Amerika.
That's where it is heading...the rest of this is just 'conditioning'.
You didn’t get a job because you have guns? Wow. However, why answer such a strange question during an interview. Smoking and guns have nothing to do with employment interviews. I never was asked either question.
I believe it was Halifax, Nova Scotia that passed a law forbidding body scents such as those in the workplace...
If what you say is true then you have grounds to file discrimination charges against them. While they made the mistake of asking you if you smoke, they made an even bigger one in telling you they weren't going to hire you because of it.
Assuming that they would eventually give you a "pre-employment" physical and drug screen, it would have detected the nicotine in your body and they would have just moved on to another applicant and told you that they chose another candidate.
With that being said, forget about that employer because eventually they would have found out about your habit and made your life miserable......
As a side note, here are the proper steps any notable employer would likely take:
1. Application review
2. Applicant interview by HR dept
3. Secondary interview with department manager
4. Pre-employment physical and drug screen
5. Background check (usually reserved for managers and executives)
6. Actual job offer.......This should always be reserved for last because if a job was never offered, the job applicant can't claim they were denied it.......(it's a technicality that favors the employer)
When I was managing a business I used to try to avoid hiring smokers because I could never keep them working. I would find them smoking on the loading dock 20 minutes after they had just finished a coffee break. Nothing personal but I had enough of that nonsense.
Last summer a man told me to be alert and pay attention to the people God puts in my path. You may have just been visited by an angel. Pay attention.
Ok, you have outed yourself as a true blue liberal.
Let me tell you what Liberty is. LIBERTY is the right to do as you please without having your pursuit of happiness controlled by the government. You have every right to smoke cigarettes until you die a slow and painful death by emphysema like my mother did. And I should should have the right to hire you or not hire you for my business based on any criteria I choose including whether you are ugly or fat or bald or short or any insidious reason I choose and if you don't like it, then or you smoke or you are ugly or bald, then you can choose not to work for me or you can go to work for someone else or start your own business and hire only ugly, bald, fat smokers.
The slippery slope you seem to be concerned about works the other way. The GOVERNMENT has for decades been taking away the rights of employers and landlords to hire who they want and rent to who they want. They are even prohibiting businesses from exercising their religious consciences and forcing them to pay for insurance for abortion or requiring that they provide photography or food at gay weddings.
A private employer should have every right to pick and choose their employees and customers based on any stupid criteria that they choose. They don't owe you a job and if they think that smoking is a sin, then they should have the right to tell you to take a hike (until your lungs turn to cement and you drown in your own mucous cause you can no longer cough it out).
Welcome to Free Republic, you dedicated liberal.
There is a legitimate question based on the book of revelation that suggests there is a line beyond which refusing to allow a person the ability to buy and sell becomes ungodly.
That line is the refusal because you refuse to give your heart, strength, mind, and soul to anyone but God.
Gee....ya' think that may be because the smokers have been forced to go outside?
I remember a time when I had an ashtray on my desk and could light up a cigarette and keep on working without any disruption whatsoever.
If you are looking for work, how can you afford to smoke?
I quit 10+ years ago and could never afford it now even with my salary.
Listen: Yes, it sucks. What you experienced is a business faced with incredible threats to its bottom line due to health care regulations and consequent expense. Smokers' coverage is projected to increase this year by more than double. Hiring smokers adds to a business' expense. Filtering applicants by health choices is smart business.
As an individual your choice lost you a job.
Get smart. Take it on the chin and make some choices.
Apply for employment at Phillip-Morris, you won’t have any problems.
When everyone in a workplace has their health costs pooled, peer pressure alone will de-select people with unhealthy behaviors. Let’s skip all the arguments about whether or not pooling costs is smart, or moral, or whether you like it or not; conservatives like to think of themselves as starting with people as they are in reality, not as they are in a dream. So, if you and I have our health costs pooled BY WHATEVER MEANS, such that your behavior affects my costs, then you can betcha I don’t want to pay for your diseases caused by smoking. (Skip all the arguments that smoking is healthy. Nobody is listening.)
Yes, the same logic runs the other way - so you have an interest in whether i eat cheeseburgers. But, conservatives, take note: we start with reality as it is, not with a dream...smoking is simply that behavior with the lowest benefit to cost ratio. So, any argument that equates smoking with eating bad food is an abstract logic exercise that is simply not going to work on many real people.
Back to the real world point: it is beyond debate at this point that health costs are going to be pooled in workplaces. So it is beyond debate at this point that smokers will be discriminated against. You can make all the liberty arguments you want; nobody cares. As the number of smokers drops, and they become more outnumbered, the non-smokers will simply insulate themselves from real and perceived costs of a stupid behavior. By force, if necessary.
I’m not making moral arguments here. I’m simply stating that this is how people will behave.
So: “what should I do?” If you want to use smoking as the fulcrum to fight battles, enjoy yourself. You will lose. If you want to get better jobs, quit smoking, or learn to lie. if lying is unacceptable, then quit smoking.
(By the way, for all you philosophers who rave about liberty then call private employers fascist for discriminating against you - there’s no hope for you. Give up the internet.)
I manage a business with 250 employees and a 40 million dollar budget. Our self-insured health plan is our single most difficult expense item to budget and control. 250 families depend on this plan for their coverage. You can bet that we discriminate against smokers financially every way we can, and will more in the future, and sleep well at night for doing it. (We will also discriminate against cheeseburgers, but that’s a little more complicated. We’ll get there.)
The reference in Revelation clearly suggests that it is the government dictating who may buy or sell and the criteria for which someone will be able to do business with such persons.
A private individual or company setting up its own criteria for whom it will hire or do business is the essence of Liberty. The Government dictating that criteria is the essence of tyranny.
It is interesting to see that there are a lot of freepers on this thread advocating for tyranny without even realizing it. They recommend the newbie sue the employer for establishing his own hiring parameters and not hiring him because he is a smoker.
Did you know that in California it is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire a man who comes to the interview dressed as a woman?
In the future, you might re-direct the question. “How would being a smoker impact my qualifications for this job?” Or, be more forceful-”I imagine that smoking in an office like this would not be considered healthy for employees”
Start your own business so that you can dictate the employment criteria and work rules. In other words, if you don’t like playing in their sandbox, then get your own.
I worked at Best Buy when I was in college. We had a strict break policy of 15 minutes per four hours or a 30-minute break for an eight-hour shift. My dept. manager was a smoker and any other smokers were ducking out at least once an hour for 10 minutes to smoke (with his permission). To say it was unfair and annoying would be an understatement.
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