SAN ANTONIO -- Smokers seeking a job with Baptist Health System might want to think twice before lighting up. A new policy has gone into effect that denys job seekers employment if they test positive for nicotine.
Baptist says they implemented the rule to continue creating a healthy workplace for its 7,000 employees. University and Methodist Health System have adopted tobacco-free campuses, but neither have a tobacoo-free hiring policy.
Job seekers who apply and get offered a position will have 70 hours to complete a nicotine urine analysis test. Those who test positive will have their job offer withdrawn, but they can re-apply after 90 days. The rule only affects new hires, not current employees. However, free smoking cessation classes are offered to current employees.
Critics of the program say the policy is overreaching and singles out a certain group. Those in favor of the new rule say the policy helps to improve productivity and rein in high insurance premiums for smokers versus those of nonsmokers.
Currently, there are 29 states and the District of Columbia that have statutes banning employment discrimination against smokers. Texas is not one of them.
DISCUSS: What do you think about the nicotine-free hiring policy? Is it unfair to smokers or is it needed to create a healthy work environment?