MD Nonprofit Won’t Hire Tobacco Users

January 11, 2011 ( - A Maryland nonprofit has adopted a tobacco-free policy and has recently stopped hiring tobacco users.

The Carroll County Times reports that the policy adopted by both the Carroll County and Montgomery County Target Community & Educational Services Inc. also requires that no employee or client use tobacco products during work hours, not just on agency premises but also out in the community. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action, which could include termination.  

According to the news report, the organization has partnered with the Carroll County Health Department to provide materials and services for employees and clients trying to quit smoking, and Target Inc. is also providing financial support if necessary to help people quit smoking.  

The organization works to enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities through community-based residential, educational, vocational, recreational and family support services. 

The newspaper quoted Action on Smoking and Health, an antismoking and nonsmokers’ rights group, as saying in most jurisdictions, refusal to hire smokers does not constitute unlawful discrimination. Federal and most state laws outlaw discrimination on only five main grounds – race, religion, sex, age and handicap.   

Action on Smoking and Health also noted that although the American Civil Liberties Union has drafted a policy opposing any form of employment discrimination for off-the-job activities, including smoking, it has not, to date, brought any action challenging an employer who refuses to hire smokers.