Employers Can Choose to Not Hire Smokers–Is the Multifamily Industry Next?

There are many reasons that someone might not get a job. Maybe they didn’t have the proper skill set. Maybe someone more qualified who would accept less money also interviewed. Maybe the applicant showed up to the interview without his pants. But now, someone might not get the job because they’re a smoker. Apparently, many companies are opting not to hire smokers, citing the fact that it raises insurance costs, and that health incentives and even bribery to quit smoking haven’t been working. The interviewer might just ask the interviewee if he is a smoker, and then dismiss him automatically if he admits it. A ha! I’m sure you’re thinking. I‘ll just lie about it if I’m ever in the position. But, some companies are on to that game, and are requiring drug tests that screen for nicotine. (So I guess if you don’t smoke, but you chew tobacco, you’d be out, too. Wait, is chewing tobacco still a thing?)

So, now that some employers are doing it, could the multifamily industry be far behind?

When it comes to smoking in apartments, people get really fired up (people get addicted to arguing? the whole thing could go up in smoke? no one wants to patch things up? Sorry, coming up with a smoking pun is harder than it looks). Most owners and property managers would probably prefer their residents to be non-smokers, because cigarette smoke could leave a lingering odor and possibly bother other residents. Plus there’s always the possibility of a fire. If property managers starting doing these tests, they could guarantee that at least the person signing the lease wasn’t a smoker in their smoke-free building.

However, residents also have some expectations of privacy. And even non-smokers would probably be resentful of a drug test that searches for nicotine. What’s next, a full body scan like they have at the airport? (And we all know how understanding people are about those…) Plus, just because the person signing on the dotted line isn’t a smoker, it doesn’t mean grandpa or the surly teen who also will live in the unit isn’t Joe Camel in disguise.

What do you think about [smoke] screening out the smokers from your potential renters? (Yes! Finally nailed that smoking pun!)

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: style-photography.de