Last week, Baylor Healthcare System made employment waves in Texas when it announced it would no longer be hiring individuals that smoked. There is no prohibition that, as of yet, would prevent an employer from hiring or even firing an employee because of their use of tobacco products – they are not a protected class.
There have been a number of commentaries and articles about the policy, the links of which are below. The reasons for instituting such a policy vary. There is no doubt that smokers can affect workplace productivity. They take breaks during the day to smoke and those breaks affect workflow and continuity of the office. Additionally, there are the health issues to consider that come along with smoking ranging from respiratory issues to cancer. Smokers can also drive up health insurance premiums.
It makes sense for a healthcare provider to implement such a policy, though I imagine there will be more to follow. There are not pros or benefits from smoking in the workplace. More and more employers, regardless of the industry are sure to implement such policies.
The Baylor Policy
Lawyer Russell Cawyer’s Thoughts