${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Los Abogados y Asistentes Hablan Español
855-KENNLAW
855-536-6529
Schedule A
Consultation
map & directions

Workplace protections for smokers lag far behind the times

As we have discussed numerous times -- and as we would hope businesses and organizations would have learned by now -- discrimination in the workplace is not only unacceptable but illegal. There are myriad classes of people that are protected by local and federal laws. Everyone has the right to pursue a career, and inhibiting that right based on an external factor (such as race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, to name a few) is wrong.

However, there is one class of people that has practically no protections when it comes to the workplace -- and, in fact, it could be argued their rights are being suppressed rather than growing or at least staying the same.

We are talking about smokers, a class of people which is basically under attack in the employment world. Many companies are going smoke-free, outright banning people from smoking on company property; smokers are being criticized for potentially being less productive than other workers, since they get numerous smoke breaks every day; and in some cases, smokers are not even considered for certain jobs based on company policy.

It is a serious issue because, currently, it is not illegal to have a policy of banning smoking or not hiring smokers.

There are a couple of things to note here, and the first is that if you are denied an employment opportunity simply because you smoke, you could make a civil appeal about the incident. Your discrimination claim could be upheld by a court. It is unlikely, given the current climate -- but if you have the skills to perform a job yet are denied simply because you smoke, you may be able to make a successful and precedent-setting case.

The other aspect here is that smokers generally have higher health care costs than non-smokers. What that means is that someone who is denied employment based on their smoking habit and a company's policy could make the case that they are being discriminated against because of a disability.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Workzone: How far can business go in restricting smokers?," Tim Grant, March 17, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Labor and Employment Law
  • Super Lawyers
  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • AV | AV Preeminent | Martindale-Hubbell | Lawyer Ratings
  • Legal Leaders | 2017 Top Rated Lawyers | Spring Litigation
EMAIL US FOR A RESPONSE
Short Form Image

Take The First Step.

We’re here to help YOU. Tell us a little about your case below:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Back to topBack to top