Although it seems unfair to many people, employers are allowed to discriminate against certain groups of people during the hiring process, depending on state law. Illegal discrimination primarily falls into two categories. One involves intrinsic qualities that the person has no choice in, such as race or the nation in which he or she was born. The other is a factor viewed as a privacy issue, such as whether a woman plans to have a baby in the near future. However, employers in Massachusetts can legally refuse to hire tobacco smokers. Anyone who believes he or she has been illegally discriminated against during the hiring process may contact an Employment Law Northampton MA attorney for a consultation.
Equal opportunity employment only goes so far. In Massachusetts, employers can refuse to hire smokers because smoking is considered a choice. That’s why smokers aren’t a protected class in that state, even though smoking is legal. Organizations may worry about added health care costs for the insurance benefits and the fact that smokers take more sick days on average than nonsmokers do. They also may be concerned that smoking employees spend too much time taking breaks, especially if those individuals can’t smoke anywhere on the property because of company policy.
Whether or not an employer can discriminate because of religion is a more complex issue. Although religion is considered a choice, religious freedom also is considered a fundamental right according to the U.S. Constitution. However, religious belief may cause a person to behave in a way that violates a company policy. A firm such as Connor Morneau & Olin defends the rights of clients who believe they have endured discrimination by employers.
Interestingly, Massachusetts passed a law in 2013 that prohibits employer discrimination against overweight people. The bill had been sent to the legislature numerous times before and always failed to pass. Many legislators appeared to view being overweight as a choice instead of a medical condition. Increasingly, however, research supports the theory of obesity being a complex disease with genetic, hormonal and environmental aspects. If someone believes he or she has faced discrimination due to weight issues since the law went into effect may want to consult an attorney in Employment Law Northampton MA. Visit website for more details.