Can smokers be penalized?
I have read the news that the city of Dayton, Ohio, says it will no longer hire anyone who uses nicotine or tobacco. City officials say they want to encourage a healthier workplace and environment - and save the city money.
Dayton’s HR manager told the news that their studies indicate that employees that smoke cost about $6,000 extra per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity. Labour leaders say they fear the new city policy could be a “slippery slope” that could lead to employees facing intrusive scrutiny of their personal habits and private lives that have little or nothing to do with their job performance. A spokesman for the police said, “We understand where the city is coming from because the biggest part of their healthcare costs are from nicotine-related illnesses.”
At first I thought this might be good, and encourage some to quit smoking, but I realize this is also an intrusion into employees’ personal lives. Where could this end – over-weight applicants? Or even women at a child-bearing age, can they be passed over to save money? People with any disabilities at all – or long-term conditions like diabetes?
The trouble is, smoking is perfectly legal. These people are being penalized for doing a legal activity on their break. Now with people vaping . . . where could this intrusion into people’s personal lives end?