Employers cannot refuse smokers
9 August 2006, BRUSSELS — Heated debate about the discrimination of smokers came to an abrupt end on Tuesday as the European Commission confirmed it is opposed to all forms of discrimination.
9 August 2006
BRUSSELS — Heated debate about the discrimination of smokers came to an abrupt end on Tuesday as the European Commission confirmed it is opposed to all forms of discrimination.
Earlier, a Belgian academic had claimed an employer in Belgium cannot refuse to give a smoker a job even if the EU were to stipulate that such a refusal was not discriminatory.
Jacques Clesse, a lawyer and social law professor at Liège University, said Belgian law forbids employers refusing to employ smokers, newspaper 'Le Soir' reported.
"The law from 25 February 2003 bans every form of discrimination… The discrimination of smokers is therefore also banned," Clesse said.
The newspaper also said Wallonian employment service Forem refuses to accept job advertisements with such demands.
The report comes after the European Commission indicated last week that it is does not constitute discrimination if an employer refuses to take on a smoker.
The comment was made by the spokeswoman for the European Commissioner for Work and Social Affairs, Vladimir Spidla, to a British financial newspaper.
But the issue now appears to have blown over, with the EC confirming on Tuesday that it is opposed to every form of discrimination.
It said despite the fact that the discrimination of smokers is not specifically outlined under European legislation, this does not mean that the EC approves the discrimination of smokers.
The issue arose after an Irish firm recently placed a job advertisement advising smokers they need not apply for the position.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news