According to Jacksonville, Florida’s FOX television online, anyone that applies for a job with Atlantic Beach will be tested for nicotine. There is even a chance that someone will not be hired if they test positive due to second hand smoke. Employees will also have to sign a statement promising they have not smoked in the last year and will not smoke while they are employed by the city, according to the news report.
The city says smokers cost a lot more for health insurance and it is an issue of keeping the cost of government down. The news provider asked city manager Jim Hansen if someone who is obese could be turned down for a job due to health care costs. Hansen replied, “We’ve not had any decision on that sort of thing…it’s just an issue of smoking.”
The ACLU calls this policy lifestyle discrimination and says employers should not be involved in their employees’ private lives.
The policy will not affect current workers who are smokers.
Other employers have also issued policies directed at controlling the health care costs of smokers, including mandating that employees stop smoking or be fired and implementing health coverage surcharges for smokers (See Ohio Firm Latest to Join Workplace Smoking Crackdown).