2009-11-26 / Local & State

Hospital Won’t Hire Smokers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Prospective employees at a central Pennsylvania hospital chain will now be tested for nicotine when they apply for jobs.

Beginning Jan. 1, Susquehanna Health System won’t be hiring smokers. The system consists of Williamsport, Divine Providence and Muncy Valley hospitals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the system is the first in the state to ban the hiring of smokers.

Susquehanna Health spokeswoman Tracy Witter says all job applicants will have to pass a nicotine screening, in addition to the current drug test.

The policy covers all new hires. An applicant who fails the screening could reapply for a job in 90 days.

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Harrisburg says the policy doesn’t raise civil rights issues because tobacco users aren’t a protected class.

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