Can Smoking Cost you the Gig?

Years ago it seemed like everyone at work smoked; even at their desk. I know, hard to believe in today’s environment. Heck, I even remember when people would smoke in the supermarket. What you see on “Mad Men” is typical of how much attitudes have changed when it comes to smoking (and even drinking) on the job.

For example, there are some companies that expressly state they will not hire smokers. I remember Alaska Airlines being one of them. Can they legally do that? Yes. Yes they can. Because you weren’t born a smoker. You chose it. Therefore there is no protected class for smokers.

Why do companies discriminate against smokers? For one, it’s considered an unhealthy habit. In some cases they think you’ll be out sick more. Even if you’re not, health insurance costs more for smokers. And even if you’re not opting for their plan, there are other considerations.

You can smell it on clothes, and see the effects it can have on appearance. Teeth and skin. If you’re hired in a client-facing role, this can be an issue. Plus there are the numerous smoke breaks that employees take. Not all. But some smokers are out of the office more than others puffing away.

I’m not taking a stance one way or another on smokers in the workplace. I’m just pointing out that if you smoke, make sure it doesn’t show when you head out to your next job interview, or it could hinder your chances of employment.

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