For the August 2011 edition of Employment Today the magazine’s regular panel of HR practitioners was asked for their thoughts on not hiring smokers – is it draconian and a breach of smokers’ rights, or should an employer be able to choose not to employ smokers?
Is this too much to ask?
Three of the four panellists felt this would be going too far. One said: “Whether a candidate is a smoker should not have any bearing on being rated the ‘best person for the job’. Despite being told that smoking is bad for your health, employers should not be judgmental in declining to employ a person just because they smoke. They could be missing out on someone who could become a superstar employee.”
But we’ve got to start somewhere …
The fourth panellist took a different view: “I strongly admire health professionals and respect their ability to provide quality support and care under extremely challenging circumstances. So it seems unjust to limit the rights of the people who attend to us when we need help the most. However smoking is still a massive drain on our health system and what better place to start than by taking a significant step to improve the health and wellbeing of our front-line health workers.”