A new form of discrimination?
In the past, though it may be distasteful to consider, hiring managers discriminated against people on the basis of their age, ethnicity, gender and even if they had a disability. Fortunately many of those practices have lessened in recent years but a new form of discrimination could be rearing its unwanted head. This discrimination is not based on a person’s ability to do the job properly but how much money they could potentially cost the company in health benefits if they are employed. Do you smoke? Are you grossly overweight? Do you have diabetes? These and any other ailments could be a cause for a company to hire the guy/gal who runs marathons as their hobby rather than you who enjoys sitting on the couch and eating popcorn. Obviously whether you smoke and if you have diabetes are much more difficult to detect during an interview than if you are overweight, but your overall health is so important to a company’s bottom line these days that more and more companies are launching wellness initiatives to improve the health and decrease the stress of their employees.
Dealer.com, a Vermont marketing firm, has installed at their facility a basketball court, ping pong tables and a gym. “These days, Americans are getting sicker and missing more days of work; its up to businesses to change that and creating healthy employees is one way to do it,” says Heidi Brigham, Dealer.com’s Life Director.
Getting a job is no longer about having the necessary skills to get it done. Your overall health is now a factor and I’ll dare say that companies have a right to hire the individual they believe will take less time off of work due to health related issues. If that person has the same skills as you, can you really make a case they didn’t hire you for any reason other than they thought the other candidate was better suited for the job?
As a job candidate it is very important today to do everything possible to guard your health and give yourself every edge during the interview process. If you’re coughing because of the cigarette you smoked before you walked in or looking like a walking heart attack because you scarfed down too many White Castles, then you are doing yourself a disservice.
As a hiring manager, it is important to hire the person whose bad habits aren’t going to effect your bottom line and ability to do the job. Is this discrimination? Not if the person you hire is equally as skilled.