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UMC No Longer Hiring Smokers

University Medical Center’s campus is smoke-free. Now the CEO wants the employees to be the same way.

Starting later this year, the hospital will no longer hire job candidates if they smoke.

Jim Valenti, President and CEO of UMC, points to the city’s ban on smoking in public places that has been in effect since 2002 and says administrators want to make an example of the hospital.

“We know that not everybody is in favor of this direction,” Valenti responded when asked if he felt the policy would make the hospital a target for discrimination litigation. “However, we know that there are 6,000 companies across the U.S. in all different industries that have enacted a similar policy.”

The CEO referenced healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee, that have enacted similar policies.

“We care about our patients,” Valenti said. “And many times, the patients want to make sure that it’s a smoke-free environment and that’s something that we want to encourage.”

Applicants will be asked if they smoke. Valenti said that is as far as the policy will reach.

“It will be on an honor system,” said the CEO. “And we expect that applicants and future associates will be honest on their application.”

Smokers already on staff will not be fired, but they will be urged to attend classes to help them quit. The hospital will offer the classes for free.

The policy will go into effect October 1.

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