Employers who discriminate against anyone for almost any reason are likely to find themselves in court these days. Unless the target of discrimination is a smoker, that it.
According to the Sunday Times, a growing number of employers in Britain are refusing to employ smokers. And because smoking does not fall under sex, race, sexual orientation, religion or disability legislation, they are perfectly within their rights to do so.
Companies in Britain that have implemented a ban include Kalamazoo-UCS, a Texan software company that employs 400 people at its premises in Northfield, Birmingham. It refuses to hire people who smoke and a job advert for a computer programmer at the site warns: “Kalamazoo hires non-smokers only.”
The only legal avenue open to smokers, the Times suggests, may be the 1998 Human Rights Act, which guarantees right to “respect for private and family life”.