Lawyers: Fairfax County Can't Consider Smoking When Hiring

Getting Fairfax County employees who smoke to ditch the habit could be tougher than the Board of Supervisors had hoped.

Earlier this week the Board unanimously approved a resolution to find out whether they could ban smoking on all county property, require courses to urge quitting and consider whether a person smoked when making hiring decisions.

The Board got answers from county lawyers Friday. Yes, the county can direct workers to smoking cessation classes, but no, they can't consider smoking in hiring decisions nor can they ban smoking on all county property.

Supervisor Gerry Hyland made the original inquiry. His father was a heavy smoker who died from lung cancer at age 50.

“I would object to any kind of forced or required training to get people to stop smoking," Board Chairman Sharon Bulova said. "Smoking is a very unhealthy habit, but it is also an addiction that is hard to kick. A person must be ready and willing to change their behavior and can’t be forced into it.”

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