McLaren officials discuss new policy of only hiring non-smokers - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

McLaren officials discuss new policy of only hiring non-smokers

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(02/06/13) - Last week, we told you McLaren Health Care will no longer hire people who use nicotine.

Now for the first time, we are hearing from McLaren officials and from opponents to the new policy.

"This is one step further to screen our applicants and we will be hiring non-smokers," said Lisa Rogers, human resources director at McLaren-Flint.

A of Feb. 1, McLaren will no longer hire people who use nicotine. Applicants will be given a urine drug test that can detect tobacco use.

The policy applies to all its campuses, but will not affect existing employees.

"This is just the next step in creating a healthy work environment here at McLaren," Rogers said.

Opponents, though, say the hospital is going too far and infringing on personal rights.

"Making the employers health police sets a very dangerous precedent. What's next? Are they going to tell us we can't have coffee at home or popcorn because of cholesterol from oils?" said Greg Gibbs, Flint attorney and ACLU representative.

Gibbs says while the hospital is not breaking any laws, a law prohibiting such a policy failed in the legislature in 2005, but he anticipates the effort will be renewed in the near future.

"It's a privacy issue, it's large corporations and employers overstepping their bounds," he said.

"All we want to do is make sure our patients, our visitors and our employees know that we take a healthy environment seriously and we promote that here," Rogers said.

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