Discrimination against Smokers May Rise with New Health Care Law

Discrimination against Smokers May Rise with New Health Care Law

The new health care law, recently upheld by the Supreme Court, may lead to more employers weeding out smokers.  Under provisions that go into effect in 2014, smokers can be charged more for their health insurance.  Employers that pick up a big portion of their employees’ health insurance premiums may decide to factor smoking into hiring and firing decisions.

According to a recent article, many states have smoker protection laws, but they lack teeth.  Smokers also may lead to morale issues when they take frequent smoking breaks that their coworkers feel exceed their own break time.

Although smoking itself is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, health issues associated with the habit may rise to the level of a disability, and warrant discrimination protection.  In addition, an anti-smoking foundation notes that smoking is more commonplace among lower income people, which may have a racial connection, too.

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