"Smokers not wanted." That's not all that uncommon in the personal ads, but what about the want ads? Louisiana's senate is considering a bill that would give hospitals the option of using whether or not a job applicant is a smoker when making decisions on who to hire.
The health and welfare committee of the Louisiana Senate unanimously approved the bill from Sen. David Heitmeier (D-Algiers). Catherine Levendis of Ochsner Health System spoke in favor of the bill.
"It allows the hospital staff to fulfill our health care mission by acting as role models for healthy living and serving patients," she testified. She also told lawmakers it could prevent patients from coming in contact with harmful chemical associated with smoking, like nicotine, lead and arsenic, all of which she said can be found in smokers' clothes and hair and on their skin.
But some folks said it would let employers intrude too much into their worker's personal lives.
"I think that someone, what they do outside of work, should be their personal business," one woman told WWL First News this morning.
"I think that would be wrong to ask someone that in an interview," said another. "How would you know that, otherwise?"
"I think that's a personal preference, not a business preference," said a man wearing scrubs that identified him as an Ochsner Hospital employee. "That shouldn't impact the hiring of someone."
"Ethically, I don't think it should be allowed," said another man, although he said as an employer, he wouldn't necessarily mind it if the proposed law extended to him, too. "I personally don't like people smoking."