Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hospital in PA will deny employment based on legal nicotine (tobacco) use even off the job

Geisinger Health Systems in Danville PA says it will screen job applicants for nicotine use (even at home) starting in February of 2012. The CNN story is here.

The hospital says that second hand smoke should not cause positive tests – a concern raised in the past about employer drug screening for marijuana use. I had to undergo one such screening by urinalysis in 1990 for the last job I had – for 12 years – even though the practice was later dropped.

Existing employees will not be affected by the policy.

There have sometimes been controversies over other ideas, like testing for HIV, which some people on the radical right have tried to encourage at times. 

One could also consider the ethics of screening applicants' personal online activity, not only for non-work related activity, but because of the likelihood of identifying wrong people or of believing material posted by others. 

This is probably also not the first time employers have screened for tobacco use.  

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