Hiring Smokers And Legalities

Business By loriemoms Updated 8 Jun 2010 , 1:19pm by loriemoms

loriemoms Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 6:54pm
post #1 of 56

First off, I will say right now that this post may offend some of you smokers out there. I am sorry if it does. You may just want to move on to another post.

I was wondering if it was against the law or discrimination or whatever you might call it to not want to hire smokers?

I hate the fact someone walks in and smells the wonderful smells of cake and butter cream, and then be greeted by someone who smells of cigarettes. I don't want them touching my product even if they wash their hands. I hate the smell they leave behind on paper work! I don't want them shaking a brides hand, I don't want them talking close to customers. I just don't care for the nasty, appetite killing smell.

Besides that, they want their cigarette breaks. Everyone else is working and decorating cakes or waiting on customers, and they have to take a break every couple of hours for 10 minutes. Then they come back smelling even more like cigarette smoke.

What is your opinion on this? (ducking ahead of time from the butts being thrown at me)

55 replies
wyovol Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:09pm
post #2 of 56

It probably depends on your state. My employment contract specifies that we are not to smoke, even on our "off" hours. At least one of our local hospitals will no longer hire smokers.

awatterson Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:10pm
post #3 of 56

I am right there with you. That would turn me away if I walked into any establishment where someone was going to prepare my food and the person smelled of smoke or anything else strong like perfume. They may be super clean, but that smell gets into everything. I have asthma and smoke and perfume sets it off. Do you have to say that is why you didn't hire them? Offensive hygiene, I think would be a valid reason not to hire someone, but I don't know.

MyDiwa Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:22pm
post #4 of 56

I'm definitely not a legal buff, but I'd think since being a smoker is not one of the protected classes in employment discrimination you have a little more room to work with but I do think someone with more legal experience is a better source since you're not so much looking for an "I hear you" as an "you wouldn't be in hot soup under the law for doing that." Like awatterson said, you could just avoid telling them that's why you didn't hire them.

cheatize Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:35pm
post #5 of 56

In Ohio, you can certainly can refuse to hire a smoker and even fire someone if they lie about it. I would not be offended, and I'm a smoker. I completely understand and that's why my house will soon be a no-smoking zone. I'm also hoping that come winter, it will make me quit. icon_smile.gif

idgalpal Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:38pm
post #6 of 56

Check your insurance. Do you get a break if you have non smokers working for you?
Do you live in a 'right to work' state? I think MYdiwa is right, smokers are not a protected group. I think you can NOT hire smokers if that's you're preference. I'm a former smoker (the worst!) and I wouldn't want anyone smelling of cigarettes in my cake shop, if I had one, and I wouldn't buy from a shop that had cigarette smell on it's employees or in the shop.

thin4life Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:39pm
post #7 of 56

My husband is in HR and he said more and more companies are NOT hiring smokers. I totally agree with you. They always have to have extra breaks, more than the non-smokers and they stink. I say don't hire smokers!

awatterson Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 7:56pm
post #8 of 56

At the company I used to work for they would let you smoke, but you only had 2- 15 minute breaks a day AND you would have to walk about 1/2 a mile to get to the site where you could smoke because they wouldn't let you smoke near the building.

Texas_Rose Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 8:06pm
post #9 of 56

I wouldn't want someone who smelled bad, whether it was smoke or something else, preparing my food. Back when I was a store manager, I had a few stinky people come in for interviews...I'm not talking about a smoker, back then just about everyone who worked in those kinds of places smoked...but other stinky problems, and I didn't hire them, no matter how qualified they seemed. If they smelled unwashed at an interview, how bad would they smell on a regular day?

You don't have to give people a reason why you don't hire them. If you're worried about a smoker trying to sue you for not hiring them, don't tell them it was because they were a smoker. Don't tell them anything, except that you had a more qualified person apply..."more qualified" could mean a non-smoker icon_biggrin.gif

all4cake Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 8:06pm
post #10 of 56

First off...I am in no way offended by your desire to not hire nor be around smokers especially ESPECIALLY in/around the bakery.

I thought there was a law or something regarding break periods (I don't know this, I just thought I'd heard/read about it somewhere...maybe it was just one company's policy about offering a 10-15 minute break when scheduled 4 hours and a 30 minute lunch break if scheduled 6...to be taken away from the work area (meaning, drinking your soda while working on flowers/figures does not constitute a break...don't jump me...I done said, I may be wrong).

My home is smoke-free even though I smoke. I don't smoke in the vehicles either. I don't like being around others who reek of it. No one is allowed to light up within 25 feet of any door or window of the house and nowhere near my autos. I smoke at night...outside...not every night...but the long stretching ones do get broken up by a cigarette break and a freshen up (face splash and new apron)

I wouldn't hire someone who HAD to smoke during a scheduled work day.

I don't think it's illegal nor unethical for that to be a hiring stipulation.

It may effect any employees already hired that are smokers....may want to check that out.

GypsyQueen Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 9:25pm
post #11 of 56

I'm sure since you are working with food you can make that the #1 reason. Tell them straight up that it can alter the smell or taste of the cake. It would effect your product so it shouldnt be a problem.

all4cake Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 9:34pm
post #12 of 56

ooooooo...breaks are not mandatory over the age of 16...aaaaaaaaaaaand read further on this page...it addresses smokers...

http://www.nclabor.com/wh/fact%20sheets/breaks.htm

federal laws may state otherwise...

loriemoms Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 9:45pm
post #13 of 56

Wow, thank you for posting that!! That helps A LOT. So legally I can tell someone who smokes that they are not permitted to smoke during working hours?

all4cake Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 9:51pm
post #14 of 56

that's what it read to me...what about hospitals...they have security tootin' around to prevent smoking on the premises...anywhere on the premises...

artscallion Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 10:00pm
post #15 of 56

It's different in every state. Check your local department of labor and training. In my state...

"law regarding lunches and breaks: A twenty-minute meal period must be given during a six-hour shift, and a thirty-minute meal period must be given during an eight-hour shift. This does not include healthcare facilities or companies employing less than three employees at one site during a shift."

all4cake Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 10:03pm
post #16 of 56

loriemoms was (don't know if that is still the case), or at least I thought, in NC is why I posted that link...

leily Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 10:10pm
post #17 of 56

i do know that regulations and change state to state/county to county. But you DO NOT have to give smokers additional breaks. YOU as the business owner set the breaks/lunch schedule (if they work a shift long enough to get one) and the employees abide by that, if not it can be grounds for termination.

I have worked at some places that just don't care and others that had no smoking policies on their property. If someone wanted to smoke during break or lunch they had to do it in their own vehicle, or walk off the property to smoke. It's your business and it's NOT illegal to set guidelines about what can and cannot be done on the time you're paying them to be there.

Sucrea Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 10:19pm
post #18 of 56

I agree with artscallion. Each state is different on breaks and lunch rules. I would check with your state labor department. Smoking causes a hygiene problem and therefor can be a reason to not hire someone. Just to avoid a smoker getting upset (some people are very offended by all the no smoking laws coming up) I would just say that the person just isn't a good match for your company. Good luck finding someone!

korkyo Posted 6 Jun 2010 , 11:58pm
post #19 of 56

I'd say, reguardless of the laws, you can hire who you want. If someone looks unpresentable you would not hire them. SO if someone SMELLS unpresentable then you have the right not to hire them.

Who's really going to know WHY you did not hire them? It's not like you need to tell them. In these times there are often tons of applicants to try out for jobs. One would not always expect to get the job.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 12:19am
post #20 of 56

I am so glad that someone is taking a stand against smoking. There is nothing worse than being greeted by a hostess or server who just returned from a cigarette break. It turns my stomach. I also hate going into a restaurant where you have to walk through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking section. Who's the genius who thought of that?

cutthecake Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 12:39am
post #21 of 56

After we registered our oldest child (25 years ago) at nursery school, we attended an orientation meeting. Two of the nursery school teachers sat at the meeting with cigarettes in their hands. Needless to say, we didn't send our daughter there, and we forfeited the $25 deposit. I should have demanded a refund, but I really just wanted out of there. I couldn't help thinking the teachers would neglect the kids while smoking somewhere; and they and their breath smelled like smoke.

nwnest Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 12:44am
post #22 of 56

My mom was a smoker and the family cake decorator. She would work for hours over a cake, while smoking. I didn't notice until I moved away from home and wasn't around smoke all the time that her buttercream picked up the flavor and tasted like ash tray.

Obviously no one is allowed to smoke around food in a professional environment (thank goodness!) You can be very up-front with potential employees about how sensitive the product is to picking up smoke, and how what they do on their own time is their own business, but you can't have any smells in the bakery. Even if you cannot discriminate against hiring, you could be strict enough about it that it would discourage people from smoking during work hours----such as requiring fresh clothing and brushing teeth after a smoking break.

I don't know about smoking, but I do know that Starbucks (at least in the past) has forbidden employees from nail polish, and scented toiletries because the coffee also picks up odors.

loriemoms Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 12:45am
post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by korkyo

I'd say, reguardless of the laws, you can hire who you want. If someone looks unpresentable you would not hire them. SO if someone SMELLS unpresentable then you have the right not to hire them.

Who's really going to know WHY you did not hire them? It's not like you need to tell them. In these times there are often tons of applicants to try out for jobs. One would not always expect to get the job.




THat is true, but I would like to make it a policy of the business that we will not allow smoking during business hours (they can do what they want when they go home) Not everyone who applies for a job is going to be upfront that they smoke. It is so much work to hire someone, I hate to have to get rid of them the first day and they want a smoke break!

vonnie222 Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 1:01am
post #24 of 56

I have chemical sensitivies, and I'm a non-smoker. I can usually tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke better than I can perfume. Or other scented products like candles, potpourri, bath oil and powder, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies, room and carpet deodorizers, etc, etc, etc. You get the picture. So, for me personally, if you ban smoking in and around your establishment, you also need to ban perfume.

It's not only those of us with chemical sensitivites out there, many chemo patients, pregnant women, and people with respitory diseases are affected by smoke and scented products. I ask all of you to place a nice sign on your front doors asking customers to please not wear scented products into your establishment due to allergies of employees and other customers. Along with a no smoking withing 25 feet sign that should help with the offensive smells from cigarettes and perfumes. You, as the business owner has the right to decide what you will and will not allow in your business not only from your employees but from your customers.

cheatize Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 3:22am
post #26 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by korkyo

I'd say, reguardless of the laws, you can hire who you want. If someone looks unpresentable you would not hire them. SO if someone SMELLS unpresentable then you have the right not to hire them.

Who's really going to know WHY you did not hire them? It's not like you need to tell them. In these times there are often tons of applicants to try out for jobs. One would not always expect to get the job.



THat is true, but I would like to make it a policy of the business that we will not allow smoking during business hours (they can do what they want when they go home) Not everyone who applies for a job is going to be upfront that they smoke. It is so much work to hire someone, I hate to have to get rid of them the first day and they want a smoke break!




Ahh, but if they smoke on their own time, their hair and clothes will still stink of smoke. Not only from the smoke on the drive to work, but because they may smoke in their house and their house is permeated with it.

korkyo Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 3:58am
post #27 of 56

I agree, you just can't not smoke for a couple of hours and expect the smell to be gone. It just "sticks" to everything.

I know it's a hassle to hire people but I would not hesitate to ask if they smoke in the interview and if you found out they lied later I'd fire them. That's what the 30 day trial period is all about. If they asked why the answer is "you just were not what we are looking for" icon_smile.gif


...interesting note about starbucks. I would have never known about that.

all4cake Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 4:34am
post #28 of 56

If you ban everything due to anyone and everyone's sensitivities, then anyone owning a pet shouldn't be hired or allowed in either...talk about something that sticks to everything...pet hair! Not being serious...just making a point.

One employee's best friend was her dog that lived inside with her, slept with her, ate with her...she wore half the dog's hair into work with her daily. In the winter, her fleece jacket/overshirt was LOADED with it. Yeah...and she was the baker/icing maker. I love my Bear but not so much that I want his hair on my clothes 24-7.

Bluehue Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 5:07am
post #29 of 56

icon_eek.gif goodgrief - you don't have No Smoking Laws where you live.!!!!!

Here in Australia there is NO SMOKING in any workplace - It is now against the Law
We cannot smoke in Hotels - Bars - Restaurants - Shops - Trains - Buses -Halls - Train Stations - actually - we cannot smoke anywhere - exept in our own garden or house if one wishes to do so.
If you smoke in the street and you get caught throwing your butt away - its a $100.00 on the spot fine.

Here in the West it is illegal to smoke in a car whilst children are travelling with you.
That incurs a $150.00 on the spot fine and you loose 3 points off your license. (we have 12 points on our license - and for every infringement you loose x ammount...loose all 12 - and you have no license.)


I throw my hand up to being a smoker - but never inside - never whilst cooking for my family or caking -
Its just the Law - the same as having ones hair up and covered whilst caking - so it comes natural to us.

We are not allowed to discrimminate against smokers when it comes to hiring and firing - but like chefs in restaurant kitchens - they can go outside as long as they take there chef jackets off - so as not to bring the stale smoke chef's jacket back into the food area.

Anybody who goes outside for what ever reason should wash their hands properly anyway when coming back in side - that would be just common sense .............................
but then we all know - common sense isn't so common icon_rolleyes.gif


Bluehue.

CWR41 Posted 7 Jun 2010 , 5:13am
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by korkyo

I would not hesitate to ask if they smoke in the interview




In most states (possibly all states) it's illegal to ask certain personal questions during an interview and on a job application that doesn't pertain to job qualifications. For example, IF "race" appears on the application, it's noted as "optional". I'm not allowed to ask "marital status" or similar personal questions, however, they eventually need to answer that as well as how many deductions, etc. but only after being placed on the payroll.

You are allowed to have any legal company policy that you wish... just supply your rules to them in an employee handbook (or mention it to them--hopefully BEFORE they are hired), and if they don't like your policies, they can choose to walk away or quit. (I doubt you could enforce a policy that prohibits employees from doing what they want during their break IF they are off your premesis.)

You are also basically allowed to fire anyone (within the law, of course) for any reason or no reason at all (as long as it's not a union shop, and if it's for a reason that is illegal such as descrimination, you're better off not stating the reason unless you're prepared for a lawsuit).

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%