Is discriminating against workers who smoke okay? André Picard
2020-01-07 from theglobeandmail.com
U-Haul International Inc. has announced that, effective Feb. 1, it will implement a nicotine-free hiring policy.
The giant do-it-yourself moving company says it will no longer interview or hire smokers, vapers or even people who use nicotine-replacement therapy such as patches and gum to quit smoking, and will insist new employees never use nicotine in the future.
“Nicotine products are addictive and pose a variety of serious health risks. This policy is a responsible step in fostering a culture of wellness at U-Haul, with the goal of helping our team members on their health journey,” Jessica Lopez, U-Haul’s chief of staff, said in a press release.
This is corporate Orwellian double-speak at its finest.
U-Haul’s obvious goal is to cut its health bill by excluding smokers. To do so, it’s jumping on the current nicotine-hysteria bandwagon.
The new no-nicotine policy will be implemented in 21 U.S. states where this kind of arbitrary discrimination is allowed. U-Haul says it will reserve the right to do random drug testing in the 17 states where that is allowed.
(However, the Phoenix-based company says it will not test its current 30,000 employees. It will even provide nicotine-replacement therapy to those who want to quit smoking, which seems a bit ironic.)
This kind of nonsense likely will not fly in Canada.
Yet why a company would not only implement but brag about such a draconian measure is still worth exploring.
In much of the U.S., workers have few rights. Companies can run roughshod over their employees, up to and including telling them how to behave off the job and, if they think it will bolster profits, they have no hesitation in doing so.
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