LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative

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LCEC Working Towards a Tobacco Free Future

LCEC Working Towards a Tobacco Free Future

Effective January 1, 2014, LCEC will cease hiring tobacco users in our efforts to improve the overall health of our workforce while reducing health care benefit costs.

What is the effective date of the Tobacco Free Hiring policy?
This applies to individuals who make formal application of employment on or after January 1, 2014.

Does the Tobacco Free Hiring policy apply to all LCEC locations?

Will the Tobacco Free Hiring policy impact current LCEC employees?
No. Current employees will be grandfathered—but employees who are tobacco users may expect to pay a higher premium on their health care benefit in 2015.

Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to all individuals who make formal application of employment on or after January 1, 2014.

Why the focus on tobacco users?
LCEC is committed to providing a clean, healthy, and safe working environment for its employees. Research has proven that tobacco use is a leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., imposing a huge health and financial burden on families and businesses.

How are applicants screened for tobacco use?
Applicants will be asked to attest that they have not used tobacco products at least six months prior to applying. All types of tobacco products are included, including but not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, patch and/or gum, smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, snuff dip, or any other product that contains tobacco), clove cigarettes and any other smoking devices that use tobacco such as hookahs and E-cigarettes. Once an offer of employment is made, the candidate will be subject to a drug test which includes screening for nicotine.

Is the screening for tobacco use legal?
Yes. Users of tobacco are not in a legally protected class. Non-tobacco hiring policies are legal in 21 states including Florida. In 1987 a federal Appeal Court ruled that smokers are not a “protected class” entitled to special legal protections and that courts need no further rationale than the Surgeon General’s warning on cigarette cartons: Cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health.

If an applicant is a tobacco user, can he/she reapply for employment at LCEC?
Yes. Candidates/applicants may reapply when they can truthfully attest that they have not been a tobacco user for the previous six months.

What if an applicant is hired as a non-tobacco user and then subsequently begins to use tobacco?
LCEC is concerned about improving the overall health of its workforce. An employee who subsequently begins using tobacco products should disclose this information to Human Resources. Employees will be strongly encouraged to participate in free smoking cessation counseling.

If an employee falsifies their non-tobacco attestation, what will be the consequences?
Employees who falsify information on the application or benefit enrollment form may be subject to discipline up to and including termination. We rely on our employees to be truthful in the information submitted for employment or benefit enrollment purposes.

If a current employee terminates employment with LCEC and then re-applies, will they be subject to the new policy?

What future bans will LCEC consider next?
LCEC is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment, and to promoting the health and wellbeing of its employees. Other than requiring future applicants to attest to being a non-tobacco user, there are no specific plans to restrict employment for other conditions.

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