Is a “no smokers” hiring policy unethical?

Minnesota is one of 29 states that makes it illegal to refuse to hire someone because they smoke. The American Lung Association opposes this law and takes the position that it elevates “smokers to a protected class.”

A growing list of organizations have a policy of not hiring smokers. “Many health care organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Baylor Health Care System, and some large non-health care employers, including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Union Pacific Railroad, and Alaska Airlines,” are among the employers noted by the New England Journal of Medicine).

The no-smoker policies are typically justified by the health, insurance and productivity costs related to smoking.

Today’s Question: Is a “no smokers” hiring policy unethical?

Hat-tip to our friends at Marketplace for this one.

  • Todd H.

    It is very unethical. Today it’s smokers what will it be tomorrow. It is akin to the Natzis genetic engineering. Imagine a world where you could not be hired because you have a genetic chance of diabetes or cancer.. Think about if they can refuse to hire you because you smoke what’s next. Once you open that door where does it end!

  • Becky

    If they refuse to hire smokers (or even nicotine users) then they should refuse to hire anyone who uses alcohol or any kind of controlled substance, legal or not, because of the potential for abuse, missed work, injury while intoxicated, or inpatient treatment. Our government should also outlaw nicotine and alcohol altogether… Now THAT sounds like might work!! LOL! Didn’t we try that once??