The city of Dayton, Ohio, no longer will hire employees who use nicotine or tobacco, according to the Dayton Daily News.
Employees hired after July 15, 2019, are required to be nicotine and tobacco free as long as they work for the city.
If job candidates test positive for nicotine, they will be required to take part in cessation activities or classes during a probationary employment period. Applicants will be tested again at the end of their probation. If they test positive, they will be discharged.
Employees hired after July 15 will be also be subject to nicotine or tobacco testing if there is “reasonable” suspicion they used nicotine and tobacco.
“Studies indicate that employees that smoke cost approximately an additional $6,000 per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity,” Kenneth Couch, Dayton’s director of human resources, told the Dayton Daily News.
According to the Dayton Daily News, union leaders say they understand that nicotine and tobacco use are responsible for a sizable share of the city’s health care costs and that the policy is aimed at creating a healthier workforce. However, they also express concern that the policy will hinder recruitment and say it is a “slippery slope” to potentially intrusive workplace requirements that are lawful and do not affect work performance.
Any city of Dayton employees hired after July 15 will be prohibited from using nicotine or tobacco products at work or during their time off, according to a copy of the human resources policy obtained by the Dayton Daily News. Employees hired before then are not affected by the new policy, though the city is eliminating designated smoking areas.