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Is It Legal to Refuse to Hire Smokers?

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Is it Legal to Refuse to Hire Smokers?

I’m a recruiter for a full time placement company. A client asked if one of our candidates is a non-smoker or smoker. We are located in Los Angeles. What are the laws regarding hiring practices with respect to individuals who smoke?



Dear John,

How do you spell lawsuit? It is clearly discriminatory to ask candidates if they are smokers, since what they do on their personal time is none of your business. You can, however, inform candidates that the office is a smoke-free workplace and ask them if they feel this might interfere with their ability to do the job. In California, smoking is not permitted in enclosed workspaces. You can provide a smoking break room, but it must be separate and ventilated. You are also permitted to ban smoking in the workplace altogether. Many other states have similar laws. Nationwide, anti-smoking legislation is getting tougher and tougher – check with your local and state health departments for any regulations that might apply to your company.

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Authored by: Granted Contributor