Doylestown Township will no longer engage employees who use cigarettes and other tobacco products, joining other employers through the country by attempting to lower healthcare costs. Job seekers looking for new work with Doylestown Township will need to quit smoking and smokeless tobacco products. That’s because the township recently approved a personnel legislation that would exclude tobacco smokers from employ.
Township supervisors wanted to make sure they were on strong legal property before they took an important step of engaging only tobacco-free employees.
“Is there any responsibility to that?” Supervisor Ryan Manion asked when the control panel first considered the changes in April.
Their lawyer reported the legislation was legal in Pennsylvania.
“Smoking or non-smoking has never been considered as a protected class,” township solicitor Jeff Garton told the board.
Pennsylvania is in the group of 21 states that have no definite workplace discrimination protections for smokers. Legislators in 29 other states and the District of Columbia have passed ordinances “promoting smokers to a protected class,” declared the American Lung Association, which opposes such laws.
In Doylestown Township, any new government employee will be required to not use tobacco, which includes smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco or any other tobacco form, Supervisor Barbara Lyons explained Tuesday. The new legislation would be applied at work and at home.
The requirement will affect any new employee engaged after January 1, 2012. The township doesn’t plan to hire additional employees now, but township manager Stephanie Mason added that they wanted the new smoke-free law in place when a position became vacant.
Current employees would not be forced to fulfill with the new regulation, Garton concluded.