Starting next week, smokers applying to work for U-Haul in Florida will not be hired.
The company is putting a nicotine-free hiring policy and this closes the door on hiring those who smoke, including using e-cigarettes.
U-Haul International insisted it is “committed to promoting and empowering a healthy workforce” and “will soon be the first major company in its field to decline job applicants who are nicotine users.”
The company is calling this part of its “Healthier You” program. The policy also will take place in 20 other states.
“Nicotine products are addictive and pose a variety of serious health risks. This policy is a responsible step in fostering a culture of wellness at U-Haul, with the goal of helping our team members on their health journey,” said Jessica Lopez, U-Haul’s chief of staff.
The company noted that individuals applying for a U-Haul job will see statements regarding the nicotine-free hiring policy on applications and will be questioned about nicotine use.
U-Haul also plans to test job applicants and potential new hires “must consent to submit to nicotine screening in the future to be considered.”
Asked about the legality of the company, Florida Daily legal analyst Ron Davis pointed out that 29 states have what are called “smoker protection laws” that prevent employers from discriminating against employees for using tobacco products.
“If the issue is about a way to save and cut cost when it comes to healthcare, who could argue against that? But unless it’s prohibited by law, a private company can set whatever hiring rules it wants,” Davis said.
Davis also said another way employees may gain some protection from being fired is if they are represented by a union.
The employment of U-Haul employees hired prior to the new policy will not be impacted by it.
U-Haul has more than 30,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.