City wants smokers to butt out of applying for jobs

Earlier this year, Tallahassee voted to ban the box, removing a question asking about a person’s criminal past on job applications.

Now, the city is looking at banning the butts, in the spirit of promoting a healthier and less costly workforce.

On Wednesday, city commissioners will hear a proposal to ban tobacco users from being hired by the city.

“Individuals hired by the city will be required to sign a non-tobacco user affidavit as part of the employment process,” the agenda item reads.

If approved, the ban becomes effective in July. Commissioners could vote on the proposal or hold off for a later date.

The city estimates that about 244 or 9 percent of city employees use tobacco products of any kind.

Currently, members of the firefighters and police unions are prohibited from using tobacco products. Firefighters also are tested for nicotine use in their annual physicals, while members of the police union don’t have to undergo testing.

Ellen Blair, the city’s human resources director, said the policy is being forwarded by the commission’s Long Range Issues Committee, headed by Commissioner Nancy Miller, on which Commissioner Scott Maddox also serves.

“This has been a discussion that different elected officials have had for years and it was just decided to bring it to the full commission,” Blair said. “All of this is up for a lot of discussion, I believe.”

Leon County prohibits smoking in county building, facilities and vehicles, but it doesn’t eliminate tobacco users from applying for jobs, said Candice Wilson, director of human resources.

•Under the proposal, by January 2016, the city’s current policy would expand non-smoking in city buildings and vehicles to include non-smoking of tobacco products and e-cigarettes on any city property, vehicles or where city employees are working. This includes time riding in personal vehicles during breaks or any other paid time. Only employees hired before July 15 would be allowed to smoke during an unpaid lunch break.

•By 2017, tobacco-free incentives will be provided for regular and OPS employees who are non-smokers, while tobacco users will pay a $20 fee deducted bi-weekly from their checks.

http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2015/04/07/city-wants-smokers-butt-applying-jobs/25425371/