Q&A: ‘No Smokers’ in ad?

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From the Times-Union (Warsaw):

Q: A construction business wants to run a help-wanted ad with the words, “No smokers.” Is that legal? Is there a place to go for quick reference for these types of questions?

A: I can’t identify any federal law creating smokers as a protected class (such as race, color, national origin, religion or gender), so I can’t find anything illegal about screening smokers from an employment ad. Don’t translate this advice to housing ads though, where the Indiana Civil Rights Commission recommends landlords say “no smoking” rather than “no smokers.”

We have copies of “Employment Law: Advertising Guidebook” that HSPA and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission put together a few years ago to help advertisers avoid discriminatory language. HSPA will mail copies to any newspaper that would like to have some.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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