The workplace smoker has traditionally elicited either sympathy (all that trying to light up in the rain) or the occasional tut as they trudge off for their thenth cigarette of theworking day.
In the US, they are a ‘persecuted’ minority.
Rival teams of doctors have squared up for a debate in journals over the number of organisations refusing to hire smokers on the grounds of prohibitive insurance costs.
Towers Watson research found that 4% of firms have recruitment bans in place, and a further 2% plan them.
Such action is legal in 21 US states and healthcare companies are the most likely to act, but bans are also popular with councils, airlines and casinos.
Former White House health advisor Ezekiel Emanuel believes bans are unethical and adds “I’m a cancer doctor. I find smoking disgusting. I wish that everyone who did it could quit. But I also recognise that it’s not voluntary.”
Just in case us Brits are feeling smug about our workplace liberties, this month also saw the introduction of a fingerprint device that can detect alcohol. The makers of AlcoSense TruTouch predict it will be used in local government, the NHS and security firms.
- Is It Unethical to Not Hire Smokers? (freakonomics.com)
- Russia: Russian smokers to live in ghettos? (ionglobaltrends.com)
- Should Companies Have The Right To Refuse To Hire Smokers? (forbes.com)