Times are tough for smokers these days. In Chicago, you can’t smoke anywhere indoors. There are even places where smoking outside isn’t allowed, like in a public park or at the beach. While frustrating for smokers, these laws have the lungs and hearts of other people in mind. But what if being a smoker greatly lowered your chances of getting hired?
For a company in Texas, this supposed idea is a reality. According to an article and video from Digtriad, Baylor Health Care System has said they will not hire you if you use tobacco in any form.
The reasoning behind this company’s rule makes sense, but bottom line, it is discrimination. According to the FDA, smokers cost company’s an estimated $200 billion more than non-smokers every year. Those statistics come from a loss in productivity due to smoking breaks and higher cost in health care. With the cost of health care rising, it’s likely that more companies will think twice before they hire a smoker.
But even if it is a matter of money for a company, is it right to discriminate against someone because they choose to smoke? A lot of people are posing the question, “where does this mode of thinking end?” If companies have the right to discriminate against smokers, then they can use that same right to discriminate against people who choose to lead unhealthy lives. Ultimately, these lifestyle choices are just that: choices. When your own personal choice begins to effect your opportunity at finding a job, can you really still call it a choice?
While it is legal for companies to do this, it does not necessarily mean that it’s right. And with an already tough job market today it doesn’t seem fair to add another hurdle for job seekers to jump over. Or shall we say, attempt to jump over.