Fort Worth, Texas Considering Hiring Non-Smokers Only
Smokers Need Not Apply
The city of Fort Worth, Texas is considering a controversial plan to cut health care costs. On the table is a proposal to hire only non-smoking applicants to reduce the amount of money spent on smoking related illnesses. Health issues related to smoking are not exclusive to smokers. Secondhand smoke poses an array of health risks to those exposed. Hiring only non-smokers will counter some of the costly effects of smoking.
Secondhand smoking costs around the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, add up to $193 billion in health bills as well as lost productivity each year. The proposal will surely reduce health expenses if implemented. It will also motivate job seekers to quit smoking.
As reported by nbc33tv.com, Mayor, Betsy Price is considering the notion saying “We put taxpayers dollars into health care for our employees,”
and “Anything that might benefit the health and wealth, make our employees more productive and healthy we’re going to take a look at.”
Current employees of the city are worried the proposal will become policy. To help prepare themselves in case the proposal does become policy, smokers are being advised to quit smoking with the aid of an electronic cigarette. There are several bridges to cross with the city's legal and human resources departments before something like the non-smoking workforce can me implemented.
Is It Legal?
Many employees see the proposal as a form of discrimination. Federal law does not protect against smoker discrimination, it is left up to the states to protect workers from smokers discrimination which prohibits employers from refusing hire or banning smoking outside of the workplace. There are 29 states and the District of Columbia that have anti-discrimination laws to protect smokers. Texas, however is not one of these states so they can legally turn smokers away.