Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Company tests for and will not hire smokers

1356

Replies

  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,190Member Member Posts: 9,190Member Member
    Grimmerick wrote: »
    I was comparing salaries online and I came across a job posting for a private hospital, they tested potential employees for cotinine and stated they would not hire anyone who smokes cigarettes because it is unhealthy and preventable. I don't know how I feel about this, on the one hand it is a private company and smoking is bad for you, on the other hand where does it stop and is it really any of their business anyway? Next will they not hire morbidly obese people or people that drink too much on their time off? There is a lot of preventable things we as humans do that can be detrimental to our health, so what comes next. Thoughts?

    A lot of companies have been doing the same thing for marijuana for decades. The fact of testing didn't lead to a slippery slope. Probably for several reasons like those tests aren't free. I'm curious how this works now that the stuff is legal, it's a closer analogy now.

    Did they say what their reasons are? Might be concerned about the loss of productivity from smoking breaks. Which would mean obesity probably isn't next. Or it could be worry over their group rate (health insurance) and maybe you're on to something.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,190Member Member Posts: 9,190Member Member
    Grimmerick wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Grimmerick wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    To be fair this is their business because we have increasingly made this their business.

    Employer provided insurance largely took root during WWII when wages were capped and businesses implemented this as an additional incentive to entice employees. This model works with long term employment and stable growth, but fell apart as the market changed to trans-nationalism.

    If you expect an employer to cover expenses, then you shouldn't be surprised when they take actions to limit these expenses.

    So my real thought with this debate which I was really hoping someone would touch on is kinda what you are alluding to right above, what happens when they say no morbidly obese people, for example?

    The last job I had was very physical and a morbidly obese person would not have been able to do it (literally crawling on the floor underneath tables and such on a regular basis). My husband's job would be very difficult for someone who was obese, pretty much impossible for someone morbidly obese (climbing up and down ladders, fitting in very tight spaces etc). I see nothing wrong with not hiring people who cannot physically do a certain job.

    but what happens when they say no, not because of it being too physical but because being morbidly obese is unhealthy and causes a host of health problems that can be prevented by not being morbidly obese(this was one of their reasons for the smoking initiative) or they want to be represented by "healthy looking" people. Where is the line of when it is about health and when it is considered discrimination? I agree with you on your point though, be it fit or fat, man or woman I do not believe ANYONE should lower the bar just to have forced diversity. I believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

    That's held in check by the fact that they need employees. If they refuse to hire anybody with any issue that could be seen as any kind of flaw, nobody will work there, and they won't be able to stay in business.

    Actually it's also limited by publicity. At this point, in 2019, society doesn't treat cigarette smokers as a protected class. This could be on the front page and won't hurt them. If they refused to hire black people, everybody would be protesting and boycotting.

    The slope isn't that slippery.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 4,510Member Member Posts: 4,510Member Member
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    With my husband's company we get penalized for smoking/high BMI/bad blood work (mandatory bloodwork every fall). These are all factors that put people at higher risk for medical care so I understand why companies are starting to implement the rules/testing.

    That may be a step too far for my comfort...what can they use as "bad" in bloodwork? Thryroid? Cholesterol? Blood glucose? Alcohol or marijuana? That seems like a very slippery slope.

    They've done it for a few years now-the blood test checks for smoking, cholesterol panel and glucose number. We also have to have our blood pressure checked, our waist, weight and height measured (it's all done at a lab). The numbers are pretty generous but if you go over them you get penalized on your insurance premiums (there's surcharges added-$500 for smoking (spouse too) etc).

    eta: the first year it bothered us, but I can understand why they do it so now it's not a big deal. I also like it because I get a second blood test panel done for free every year and I'm a data geek :)

    I'm wondering where this crosses the line into discriminating against someone because of a health condition. For example, not all high cholesterol can be prevented by lifestyle choices - some is hereditary. And while the company might prefer that people with hereditary illnesses not work there, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to discriminate against them, even for a private company.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,190Member Member Posts: 9,190Member Member
    aokoye wrote: »
    Lastly, in terms of this slippery slope idea, which I think is a red herring, there are jobs where being over X pounds would prohibit you from doing your tasks. There are also jobs where more than a minimal level of fitness is required, jobs where a minimum level of fine motor skills are required, and so on.

    There are people who don't have great motor control. Some of them are very smart, I mean look at Stephen Hawking. You can't use a computer mouse or a touch pad without good motor control.

    You can generally get around a computer with the tab and arrow keys. But not always. Most developers use a mouse. That means you can't have some IT jobs if you have motor issues. Not just something like Photoshop, but certain kinds of network administration jobs too, because there are things that can't be done with the keyboard alone in some of the server products.

    That's really a shame, because people like Stephen Hawking don't have many options in the trades, in sports, etc.

    (I just started at Microsoft, my job is 100% fixing bugs that prevent people with disabilities from working on server infrastructure.)
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,970Member Member Posts: 2,970Member Member
    aokoye wrote: »
    Lastly, in terms of this slippery slope idea, which I think is a red herring, there are jobs where being over X pounds would prohibit you from doing your tasks. There are also jobs where more than a minimal level of fitness is required, jobs where a minimum level of fine motor skills are required, and so on.

    There are people who don't have great motor control. Some of them are very smart, I mean look at Stephen Hawking. You can't use a computer mouse or a touch pad without good motor control.

    You can generally get around a computer with the tab and arrow keys. But not always. Most developers use a mouse. That means you can't have some IT jobs if you have motor issues. Not just something like Photoshop, but certain kinds of network administration jobs too, because there are things that can't be done with the keyboard alone in some of the server products.

    That's really a shame, because people like Stephen Hawking don't have many options in the trades, in sports, etc.

    (I just started at Microsoft, my job is 100% fixing bugs that prevent people with disabilities from working on server infrastructure.)

    Of course there are people who don't have good (or any) fine motor control. That doesn't mean they'll be able to do a job that requires it. It also has nothing to do with their intellect - I didn't imply that intelligence had anything to do with this. I, for a short period of time, was seriously thinking about becoming a flute maker. The flutes I would have been making are almost entirely made by hand and come in at anywhere between $8,000 (at the very low end) and $43,000. Making and repairing flutes (among other instruments) requires very good fine motor skill and there really isn't a way around that. Sure there are mass produced flutes, but that's not the level of flute I'm talking about. Yes, being an instrument maker and/or repairer, in general, is a fairly niche job but it's a job that plenty of people have.

    In the case of the place I would have apprenticed at (I spent a day there touring the factory and sitting at each of the work benches as well as trying every flute and piccolo that was finished that day), they were very transparent about hiring people with fine motor control. I mentioned that I knit and the owner's eyes lit up because I was a person who had the requisite fine motor skills and played the flute.

    edit: other things that require fine motor skills - various surgical techniques (because apparently my mind is on doctors). I'd imagine there are far more vascular surgeons than instrument makers. Even then new robotic surgical techniques (like da Vinci Surgical System) require quite a lot of fine motor skill from what I understand.
    edited January 29
  • LovelySavannahLovelySavannah Posts: 145Member Member Posts: 145Member Member
    How is this much different from testing for any drugs? As a hospital, I can understand the desire to not hire employees who smoke. There is evidence against second and third hand smoke being harmful. If this hospital deals with people who are already unhealthy, for example lung cancer, exposing them to someone who smells of smoke could potentially be harmful to that patient's health. That makes the smokers a liability to the hospital.

    I completely agree with this. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke and I get sick (nauseated and sore throat) everytime I smell it. So if I'm in the hospital, I really would not want my caregiver to reek of cigarette smoke that starts giving me headaches, making it hard to swallow, and making me want to throw up while I'm already sick. So it's understandable why the hospital doesn't want their employees to smoke.
  • JBanx256JBanx256 Posts: 445Member Member Posts: 445Member Member
    My job doesn't have a BMI restriction but they have recently implemented a mandatory PT assessment (it's been a long time coming - they gave us well over a year's notice of the change in policy and multiple "practice" sessions where we just had to do the test itself but not within the set time limit etc). If you fail, you have 90 days to retest. As of this point, they have not determined what the impact will be on those who can't pass it (some people are saying maybe you get a reduced score on your annual performance review; I personally have pretty strong views about what the penalties should be but my opinion is not the one that counts). They don't want to use BMI as a rule because it is often such a poor predictor of health when you are considering a population with higher-than-average muscle mass (and really, whether you are "heavy" or not really doesn't matter if you can perform the tasks required; I recently lost about 10 lbs but before then I was on the low end of obese according to BMI (now I'm just considered overweight!) but was still more than capable of passing the PT tests with flying colors).

    We don't get penalized for smoking or anything either but there is a policy against any tobacco use in agency vehicles (all the guys on my shift dip though rather than smoke so it doesn't impact them at all). The employer does offer programs to aid with smoking cessation, weight loss (they have some sort of free weekly online class with "lesson plans" about diet/nutrition, exercise, blah blah blah and even send people a little starter kit with a log book and some other informational material).

    Employers can dictate that employees are required to wear seatbelts in company vehicles etc; not only are seatbelts required by law here (NC), but also the average medical expenses in a wreck skyrocket when seatbelts aren't worn etc. In addition to a pre-employment drug screen and being subject to randomized drug testing, any accident or wreck while on duty or in a company vehicle is automatic grounds for drug/alcohol testing.
  • happytree923happytree923 Posts: 464Member Member Posts: 464Member Member
    Is this a Seventh Day Adventist owned hospital? I've heard of SDA owned organizations getting pretty invasive asking about their potential employee's health habits because health is a part of their religion. I'm not sure how I feel about it generally but at least with the Seventh Day Adventists it's kind of like, 'oh, makes sense, it's THOSE guys' reaction. FWIW the only time I've ever heard of an employer asking about tabacco use was an SDA hospital.
  • zeejane03zeejane03 Posts: 993Member Member Posts: 993Member Member
    Is this a Seventh Day Adventist owned hospital? I've heard of SDA owned organizations getting pretty invasive asking about their potential employee's health habits because health is a part of their religion. I'm not sure how I feel about it generally but at least with the Seventh Day Adventists it's kind of like, 'oh, makes sense, it's THOSE guys' reaction. FWIW the only time I've ever heard of an employer asking about tabacco use was an SDA hospital.

    My husband does not work for a hospital (he's in the HVAC field and works for a large, global company). We've been tested for tobacco/fined if used for several years now. They provide health insurance and those who smoke are in a higher risk category for needing more medical care at some point. Same with why they now do the mandatory blood work/BMI checks. They pay health insurance benefits for over 300,000 employees, so I understand why they're doing this.

    eta: from talking to others who work for different companies, I think the tobacco thing is becoming pretty common now.
    edited January 29
  • zeejane03zeejane03 Posts: 993Member Member Posts: 993Member Member
    Grimmerick wrote: »
    I was comparing salaries online and I came across a job posting for a private hospital, they tested potential employees for cotinine and stated they would not hire anyone who smokes cigarettes because it is unhealthy and preventable. I don't know how I feel about this, on the one hand it is a private company and smoking is bad for you, on the other hand where does it stop and is it really any of their business anyway? Next will they not hire morbidly obese people or people that drink too much on their time off? There is a lot of preventable things we as humans do that can be detrimental to our health, so what comes next. Thoughts?

    A lot of companies have been doing the same thing for marijuana for decades. The fact of testing didn't lead to a slippery slope. Probably for several reasons like those tests aren't free. I'm curious how this works now that the stuff is legal, it's a closer analogy now.

    Did they say what their reasons are? Might be concerned about the loss of productivity from smoking breaks. Which would mean obesity probably isn't next. Or it could be worry over their group rate (health insurance) and maybe you're on to something.

    Marijuana is now legal in my state, however it's still up to each company to decide their policy on if they'll allow users to work for them or not (from my understanding of the new law, explained to me by a friend who's the HR director at her company).

    edited January 29
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 3,326Member Member Posts: 3,326Member Member
    aokoye wrote: »
    It is against Human Rights law as smoking is not outlawed It like saying you can not work here cause you are gay! . But this is done for safety. Like gas refinery / Driving gas trucks etc.

    That's not how that works. Smokers are not a protected class.

    Right -- if we are talking US, you can fire/refuse to hire someone for any reason unless it is a reason specifically outlawed (like race, age, etc.) or you have a contract or labor agreement that would be breached.
Sign In or Register to comment.