New Proposal Would Allow County to Ban Smokers From Working [POLL]
One county in Arizona is taking their anti-smoking message to the next level, voting Tuesday (12/16) on whether or not to allow smokers to apply for jobs with the county.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposal that would automatically disqualify any job applicant for a county job that couldn't certify they're a non-smoker. The new rules would apply to current employees also, allowing the county to increase health insurance costs by 30% if they can't prove they're a non-smoker.
USA Today caught up with Jeff Nordensson, Pima County's Communication Director, who explains why the new rules are being considered:
The primary thing they are trying to do is twofold: One is have concern for the employees and two, help lower the cost of providing benefits for our employees and for the taxpayers.
The initial estimates say that these new rules could save the County as much as $13.4 million per year in Tobacco related health care costs.
If the proposal is passed, all new employees would have to certify that they are a non-smoker of at least 12 months by either providing a doctors note or showing the results of a drug test that proved there was no nicotine in their system. Current employees would have to certify they have been a non-smoker for at least 12 months by July in order to avoid the 30% surcharge.
There are no mandatory drug tests associated with this ruling, but the county could drug test a current employee if they were caught smoking, or there is "reasonable belief" that the employee is smoking.
Those against the new rules see these as discriminatory toward the employees and argue that it prohibits what they can do on their personal time.
What do you say?