We’re all familiar with the down-sides of cigarette and tobacco use – it increases health risks, raises medical costs, and it often lowers productivity in the workplace. It’s costly for the employer and the individual smoking, so many companies are implementing no-smoking policies and even minimizing the number of smokers they hire. As a risk management and human resources company, Cornerstone Insurance Group decided to weigh in on this important topic.
If you decide to take this approach to hiring and managing smoking in the workplace, we recommend consulting with an employee benefits expert. There are many legal risks, federal regulations, and human resources strategies to consider and comply with before employing a full anti-smoking policy.
Here are some things to consider before implementing a no-smoking policy:
Many states will use legislation to provide protections to smokers, but the degrees to which they protect tobacco users varies. In Missouri, employers are not allowed to discriminate against an employee for their smoking or tobacco use, unless it directly interferes with the employee’s work performance or the business.
However, Missouri businesses are free to create smoking policies that employees adhere to during business hours. Employers are welcome to set up designated smoking areas outside their workplace and prohibit the use of tobacco products in the workplace.
Human Resources Strategies:
Although your human resources department can tell employees no smoking during their shifts, it is not the best way to increase morale. As an alternative, offer smokers on your team the flexibility to divide their lunch break into two or more breaks spread throughout the day.
Businesses can also implement a smoking cessation program that educates and supports individuals who would like to quit tobacco. Consider incentivizing employees who quit.
Compliance With Federal Regulations:
A final strategy to reduce the cost and impact of smokers on your business and the greater employee population is to charge smokers higher insurance premiums. This is a highly regulated area, and should be considered carefully before implementing.
View our webinar on smoking policies for more information.
It is ideal to imagine a workplace with no smokers, but it’s important to manage the risks associated with smoking in the workplace. Keep all smoking policies updated with new developments, such as workplace policies surrounding tobacco-free products and electronic cigarettes, and always communicate changes with employees.
Need advice on creating custom risk management and human resources strategies for your company? Contact the HR specialists at Cornerstone Insurance Group today!