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Ethical to Screen Employees?

Do employers have the right to screen employees or potential employees to learn if they are smokers, have chronic disease, or are overweight? Discuss why or why not--provide a rationale for your position(s).

response is 515 words

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Hi: This is a topical question!

For smokers, currently about 20% of US population smokes. Whether or not you can exclude smokers from the hiring process depends upon the state in which the business operates. Here is an article about a company that is excluding smokers: http://www.valleynewslive.com/Global/story.asp?S=13562193&clienttype=printable
It looks like it is a growing trend.

Note, you may not terminate an employee for being a smoker. This would fall under a pre-existing condition.
Would it be wise to exclude smokers? You might justify this decision by bringing up health issues (although smoking is primarily shunted to "smoker's only" sections of outdoor areas, increased cost of employee health program (smokers would cost company more), or productivity (days off might ...

Solution Summary

This detailed solution examines if it is ethical for companies to screen smokers, or obese, or chronically ill workers from employment. It cites current laws and gives examples.