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Sam Says: How Many Hoops is Enough?

Posted by Ted Canova on March 2, 2011 at 9:16 AM

How many hoops can companies make someone jump through to get hired?

I’ve written in the this space a number of times about the unfair practice of employers refusing to hire the unemployed. Indeed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held hearings on the matter a couple of weeks ago.

But now, it turns out, many companies are refusing to hire smokers.

Let me be clear, I find smoking distasteful, a scourge to health care and I’ve never met a tax on tobacco that I didn’t like. I completely support a company’s ability to control smoking in and around any of it’s property, including vehicles.

But to disqualify a candidate because they chose to smoke at home goes too far. So, according to a piece on, the EEOC has another matter to investigate. Also, New Jersey passed legislation last year that makes it illegal to make hiring decisions based on smoking.

Employers want to hold down health care costs and clearly smokers could work against that. But where does it stop? Overweight applicants? People who don’t wear their seat belts? People who don’t get enough Omega-3 fatty acids?

It seems to me this is just another way of making a tall stack of applications shorter without having to really judge someone’s qualifications.

With one job for every five job seekers in America I don’t think we need to make it any tougher on them than it already is.

But please, smokers, go ahead and quit before EEOC has to step in.


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