Check out this Washington Healthcare News article authored by Stoel Rives Labor and Employment attorneys Keelin Curran and Karin Jones, in which they discuss the developing trend of strict no-smoking policies in the workplace, including no-nicotine hiring practices. Research indicates that smokers impose significant additional health and disability costs on employers, and experience twice as many illness-related absences from work.
In the article, they note that many states have enacted legislation specifically prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of lawful off-duty activities such as tobacco use. However, for those states without such protections, employers have thus far successfully defended their right to exclude tobacco users from their hiring pools.
Read Curran’s and Jones’ analysis of the issue, including court cases and the potential pitfalls under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when such policies are applied to current employees.
"Snuffing Out Employee Tobacco Use: The Trend Towards No-Nicotine Hiring Policies" was published by Washington Healthcare News, February 2011.