Last week, the truck-rental company U-Haul announced it would stop hiring smokers in the 21 states where it is legal to take nicotine use into consideration when making hiring decisions.
In an e-mail to The Arizona Republic, U-Haul Chief of Staff Jessica Lopez cited the firm’s “continued efforts to enhance our wellness program and decrease health-care costs,” adding: “We have become more aware of the medical side effects of using nicotine and tobacco products.”
Employers are, of course, allowed to consider what you’re doing in your hours away from work. If you get arrested, even if the crime is unrelated to your job and even if you are eventually exonerated, your company can fire you.
The difference is that smoking cigarettes is still legal — and notoriously hard to quit. A company saying it won’t hire workers engaging in a legal activity that is also difficult to stop: Now that’s a massive overstep.
The ban on nicotine means that U-Haul also won’t hire anyone who vapes. Vaping has become a popular technique for many to quit smoking. If the concern is for the employee, the inclusion of vaping makes no sense.
Karol Markowicz – New York Post – January 5, 2020.