Beginning February 1, U-Haul, one of the oldest equipment and storage rental companies in the United States, is implementing a policy of nicotine-free with an aim to promote a healthier workplace. In the midst of mixed reactions on the decision by locals and market pundits, the company is firm on implementing this policy in its units across 21 US states.
“We are deeply invested in the well-being of our Team Members,” Jessica Lopez, U-Haul chief of staff, said in the statement. “Nicotine products are addictive and pose a variety of serious health risks. This policy is a responsible step in fostering a culture of wellness at U-Haul, with the goal of helping our Team Members on their health journey.”
Is this the business of a business?
After the big announcement of U-Haul to bar employment on the basis of nicotine use, a number of people in the business, law, and government have been analysing this matter closely. Talking about the legal validity of the issue, Massachusetts-based lawyer James Winston explains that businesses are free to pass any policies as long as it is not prohibited by law at the state or federal level. Since nicotine-users, unlike race, caste or gender, are not classified as a group in any law, it would be tough to challenge the U-Haul’s decision legally.
The new policy will be applicable to only new employees after January 31st. If health improvement of employees is the only concern of the company, wouldn’t it make more sense if it is applicable to old ones also? Another big question arises is- what after nicotine? What is the company declares coffee, cookies or sugary soda unhealthy as obesity-sponsoring food?
There are more chances that new employees will apply to work elsewhere or they will most likely to lie and hope to not get caught. This will certainly not favor the working environment of a corporation. In fact, the business potential of the firm might get affected by this.
There is no doubt in the fact that tobacco is hazardous for one’s health, forcing one not to consume it not a wise idea. Instead of executing this law with this much commitment, what U-Haul needs to do is promote its employees’ health in a better and positive way.