Is it legal for an employer to fire or not hire someone because they use tobacco?

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Is it legal for an employer to fire or not hire someone because they use tobacco?

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it would be legal for an employer to not hire, or to fire, someone for tobacco use. Tobacco may be legal, but employees are allowed to terminate, etc. people for doing otherwise legal things (e.g. the could fire someone for dating a co-worker or client; or for bad-mouthing the company). There is no law protecting the right to use tobacco at work, so an employer could choose to not hire or to fire on this basis.


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