Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now Hiring. Smokers need not apply.

Normally I try to stay away from politics and hot button issues, but this effects me personally and I am fucking pissed. I came across this article explaining how Richmond, VA's fifth largest employer will no longer hire applicants who smoke cigarettes. Ironically enough, Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes also has a plant in Richmond, VA and employees huge numbers of people as well. 

Bon Secours Health System made all of their campuses smoke-free. That is perfectly acceptable, but screening an applicant for nicotine is ridiculous. According to the article "Under the new policy, anyone who applies for a job with Bon Secours Virginia will be tested for nicotine. If that test comes back positive, the applicant must wait six months to apply again." This infuriates me. Virginia's unemployment rate has increased for three consecutive months, and now our region's biggest employer is going to deny jobs because someone is a smoker. 

If they can get away with this type of discrimination, what else can they get away with? 

"Now hiring. Blondes need not apply" I get it...blondes are dumb so they can't possibly work in the health care field. 

"Now hiring. No fatties" You know, since smoking is unhealthy and being overweight is unhealthy, they can totally get away with this one. 

"Now hiring. Women get back to the kitchen" Women can't be doctors. They can only cook and vacuum.

via Google Images 

I am not the only one pissed about this. As soon as this broke on Facebook, comments started rolling in on our local news station's page. 

Sarah Figuly of Richmond, VA responded to the news first-"Nicotine is a LEGAL substance for those 18 years & older. Hey, What About ALCOHOL?" 

I asked permission to use quotes and names in this post, but the following commenters wished to remain anonymous

"I think its just another way to stereotype people. I am not a smoker, now with that being said what people do outside of work is not there concern. As long as their not smoking on the property what business is it of theres! I mean seriously unemployment is already bad enough, they should grateful people want to start a career with them. Stop judging people with what they do with their body. As long as their not taking illegal drugs and an alcoholic then whats the issue!"

"What are they going to do with the employees that are currently employeed that smoke? fire them?? I am a non-smoker, I think this is discrimination! What we do legally in our private time is our right as americans! I see them having a lot of problems with this!"

smoking is a lifestyle choice that can be a hazard to your health. but so can having to protected sex or drinking alcohol or driving without a seatbelt. i say people need to get a firm grasp on reality and realise that smokers bring in alot of revenue to our state and if we keep pushing people from smoking it is going to cost the state billions of dollars along with thousands of jobs. no wonder this country is going down the drain"

Trust me there are plenty more quotes I could use, but I'm starting to feel like I'm writing a research paper in high school. 

From what I gather with this new choice, being a smoker of LEGAL cigarettes is as bad as smoking weed or snorting coke. As Sarah mentioned above, alcohol is just as bad or worse than cigarettes, yet they continue to allow people who consume alcoholic beverages to apply. 

I've never known anyone who's job was affected by their addiction to cigarettes, but I've seen more than one person lose their job, wife and children due to alcoholism. 

Don't get me wrong. I drink. I like drinking. I have nothing against alcohol, however I've never seen anyone get arrested for driving under the influence of cigarettes. Alcohol causes rational thoughts to appear sparingly. Alcohol damages user's livers. 

If Bon Secours denies applicants because they smoke cigarettes, they should also deny any applicant who drinks alcohol. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think this is discrimination? Do you agree with their policy? Do you think they should deny drinkers if they deny smokers? Share your thoughts in the comments. 


  1. Employers are absolutely within their rights to tell their employees

    1. Not to smoke on the job, or anywhere on the campus of their place of employment
    2. Not to come to to work reeking of cigarette smoke

    I don't understand people who smoke nowadays, since we have SO MUCH INFORMATION saying it's so horrendously awful for you. Not to mention it STINKS, kills your tastebuds, stains your teeth and the spot where you hold it between your fingers, AND it's an expensive habit.

    That being said, trying to have applicants take a pee-test for NICOTINE is effing RIDICULOUS. Nicotine will affect your performance at work just as much as CAFFIENE, and I don't see any employer discouraging coffee consumption on the job!!! Hell, in the medical field it's a STAPLE because we work such long hours!

    This is freaking stupid. I hope they pull their heads out of their asses and realize this. Seriously, it's just going to waste time and money, and lose jobs. Make your place of business 100% smoke-free! It doesn't cost anyone any money. Geez.

  2. I mostly agree, but the unemployment argument is not useful. As long as all jobs are filled (by non-smokers), there is not an increase in unemployment... I agree that the rule is stupid, just trying to point out a bad counter-argument.

    1. I for one have to say that this is idoic if people want to smoke that is their damn business further more the comment about health care workers and coffee well I am a rn been working almost 10 years now might u say most people would be happy to have a smoker working on them that the 75 percent of nurses and doctors who pop painkillers and work humm food for thought give me a smoker to start my iv anyway

  3. I think it's crap. Smoking is not illegal.

    They are doing this to keep their medical benefits costs down. I see this as a gateway to other things... no people with genetic predispositions allowed.

    Now, that being said, we do charge smokers a little more for benefits to try to get them to quit. I see this as acceptable since smokers tend to get sick more often. But we certainly do not pre-screen applicants based on their lungs.