University Medical Center to Stop Hiring Smokers
POSTED: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 11:42am
UPDATED: Monday, August 23, 2010 - 3:16pm
EL PASO - In a few months the “no smoking” sign outside University Medical Center will also apply to all job applicants, on or off the job.
"I think that's a great idea actually," said El Pasoan Priscilla Alvarez. Other El Pasoans we spoke with seemed to like the idea too.
In a recent memo, UMC CEO James Valenti announced a new hiring practice. It's the first of its kind at any Texas hospital. Anyone who uses tobacco, apparently even on their own time or at home, is automatically disqualified from a job with UMC.
"I think its great that they don't hire anyone who smokes! It's for our own health," said another El Pasoan, Margarita Bravo.
But it's not just about a healthy workplace or to keeping patients safe. Valenti says it's also about saving money: $3,400 for every employee who smokes. That's based on a CDC estimate on what smokers cost businesses each year in higher health costs and lost time. And while most people we talked to support UMC's decision, others wonder if it crosses the line.
“I think it's infringing on their rights,” said Sylvia Perez.
Like it or not, the new hiring policy goes into effect October 1st.
Valenti's Letter is attached below: