The city of Dayton, Ohio recently rolled out a new rule that is causing an uproar throughout the city. City officials have created a rule to encourage health and wellness in the workplace through banning city employees from using nicotine and/or tobacco products.
This rule prohibits individuals hired after July 15, 2019, from using nicotine or tobacco products, however, employees hired before this date are not subject to this new ruling.
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Details of the Change
City employees hired after July 15th are required to be tested for nicotine upon their hiring. If the test should come back positive, these individuals are required to complete a smoking and nicotine cessation course to help them quit using these products. Once the course is completed, these individuals will be tested again for nicotine. If nicotine is still found, they will be fired from the company.
It has been stated that the company will not administer any random nicotine tests after the first one upon hire. If for some reason there is suspicion that the individual is using nicotine products, there is subject to another test and, if nicotine is found, they will be terminated from their position.
Health and Wellness Concerns VS Employee Privacy
This new hiring practice is sparking a lot of debate. On one hand, the city has a duty to promote health and wellness to its constituents. The hopes of this new hiring practices are to decrease the amount of nicotine use among employees and therefore reduce nicotine use of the community as a whole.
According to the Center for Disease Control, smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the united states. It has also been found that smoking causes major damage to almost every organ in the body, which can lead to cancer, health problems, and even death. The city has a responsibility to its residents to promote wellness and combating the growing rate of smokers and vapers is an easy place to start.
Wow. An Ohio city will no longer hire those who use nicotine or tobacco, in a bid to create a healthier workplace for people.https://t.co/1ECj48EIJI
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 3, 2019
On the other side of the debate, it brings into question the right of the government to dictate how individuals spend their time outside of work. Many people think that the government should not have a say in what they put into their body while not on the clock and find that this practice of testing nicotine levels is intrusive.
The argument is that, if an individual is doing their job and smoking or vaping does not hinder their ability to complete their work, the city should have no say on their use of cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Nicotine is a legal substance for individuals over the age of 18 to purchase and consume, which is the main reason why people are against these new regulations.
They question what other legal substances employers could discriminate against next- Will companies soon put regulations around the use of alcohol or other legal substances? Union leaders are currently working with city officials to try to come to a compromise, however, there are no present details of this effort.
Ohio Ban on Hiring Smokers: A Matter of Public Health or Invasion of Privacy?
This new hiring practice is causing a lot of debate for the people of Dayton, Ohio. On one hand, it is for public health, but on the other, it is discrimination based upon what individuals decide to put into their body, which could lead to even more restrictions in the future. It is unclear if this issue will get resolved or if this regulation will continue to stay in place.