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Employers only looking to hire non smokers – but is it illegal?

An increasing amount of job offers are posted online specifying only non-smokers need apply. 

And while to a smoker this may seem discriminatory, legally it’s completely okay. 

On Thursday, there were 60 jobs advertised on Seek which specified an applicant should be a non-smoker.

The positions included gardener, chef, front desk receptionist, radar technician, and a tax compilation all rounder.

Job advertisements from a vast range of industries are now asking specifically for only non smokers to apply  – but is it illegal?

60 advertisements for jobs around Australia posted on Seek contained the term 'non smoker' 

60 advertisements for jobs around Australia posted on Seek contained the term ‘non smoker’ 

Smoking is not protected under Australia's anti-discrimination laws, like disability or gender are

Smoking is not protected under Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, like disability or gender are

Smoking is not a protected attribute under any of the Anti-Discrimination acts throughout the country, like disability or gender are, meaning these advertisements are completely legal.  

While nicotine is addictive, it is not seen as a disability because patches and gum would satiate that craving while allowing employees to continue working. 

Not only is refusing to hire smokers legal, it is also easily defensible, Employee Matters director Natasha Hawker told the ABC.

Ms Hawker said it would be possible to defend the hiring criteria as it would affect professional grooming standards or present an increased health risk.

Ads for roles such as gardener, chef, front desk receptionist and radar technician all contained lines specifying the company was not interested in hiring a smoker

Ads for roles such as gardener, chef, front desk receptionist and radar technician all contained lines specifying the company was not interested in hiring a smoker

The HR expert also claimed it could be defensible by arguing it endangered other employees.    

‘An employer could argue that they have an obligation to provide a safe place of work, because they do,’ she said.

‘If the team were at a social function and they were breathing in second-hand smoke, the employer could potentially be breaching their duty of care.

‘They’d be very keen to not be putting their team in that position of exposure.’ 

A HR expert said smokers could negatively impact professional grooming, health and even the safety of other employees

A HR expert said smokers could negatively impact professional grooming, health and even the safety of other employees

 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk