Will Indiana Really Fire People For Using Tobacco?
Companies have been regularly testing employees and prospective employees for drugs and alcohol since the 80s. It's rare, anymore, that a "whiz quiz" isn't required as part of the application process, and the reason behind it is hard to argue. Workplace safety is incredibly important, and people who come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol are more likely to put themselves and others at risk of injury.
But tobacco? Should tobacco use be a deciding factor in hiring or firing employees? If Senator Liz Brown of Fort Wayne, Indiana gets her way, it definitely will. She's proposed a repeal of a portion of a state code that says, in layman's terms, an employer cannot discriminate against a job candidate who uses tobacco. If the repeal is passed, a business can refuse to hire a smoker or deny them medical benefits that would come along with the position.
Is firing or not hiring based on tobacco use fair? Some studies suggest that employers are losing close to $6,000 a year per employee based on time spent smoking, days off due to illness, and so on. Could this be the next big ban at work? Smoking is a no-go pretty much everywhere. If this repeal passes in Indiana, it might be a matter of time before it affects to the Mitten.