Can a Florida state employer ask about my tobacco use and exclude me from a job based on the question?

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Can a Florida state employer ask about my tobacco use and exclude me from a job based on the question?

I just submitted a job application to the Pasco-County Clerk’s office and in the
questions section, they asked me if I use tobacco products and that I would have
to be medically screened for the use of tobacco products prior to employment. It
further stated that I would be not considered for employment if I use tobacco
products or refuse to be screened. Could please tell me how this is
Constitutional and not discriminatory?

Asked on May 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is discriminatory: you may NOT be barred from employment for a medical condition, such as tobacco (e.g. nicotine) additiction or dependence, and barring you from employment due to the use of tobacco products when you have such addiction or dependence (as most users have) can easily be found to be such illegal discrimination. They can have a policy barring smoking (or chewing or etc.) at work, and terminate you for violating that policy (legal, because you are being terminated for what you *do*, not for a condition), but they can't refuse to hire you for off-site, not-at-work, etc. use. If they refuse to hire you for this reason, you could contact the EEOC about possibly filing a disability (i.e. medical condition) discrimination complaint. 


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