New law would allow hospitals to discriminate against hiring smokers

New law would allow hospitals to discriminate against hiring smokers

By Marco Villarreal. CREATED Feb 20, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Smokers are already restricted on where they can light up around the workplace. Now, a state lawmaker in Nevada wants to add some restrictions on where smokers can work.

Currently, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker because they smoke tobacco, but soon hospitals and other medical facilities may legally discriminate on that fact alone.

"Yeah, I pretty much agree with that, because smoking is bad health all around so why start with somebody who works there?" said Karl Dean, a proponent of the proposal.

Some are clearly in favor of this change. Senator Joseph Hardy presented before a legislative hearing a change that would only apply to medical facilities hiring new employees.

It would not affect employees already working at the hospital or clinic. Senator Hardy of Boulder City says this all came about because Renown Health a Nevada based health care company wants to avoid having a nurse or doctor come in to see a patient with the lingering smell of tobacco on them. The ACLU of Nevada is keeping their eye on this potential change. 

"To allow an employer to control the private lives of their employees is something that has been rejected historically," said Allen Lichtenstein with the ACLU of Nevada.

If passed this could go into effect July 1, 2013. This was just presented and there is still a long way for this amendment to go before it comes to fruition.