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Olivia Kent
Olivia Kent, Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 871
Experience:  Partner at Kent Law Group, LLC
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I've red a few smokers and they are terrible on

Customer Question

Hi there, I've hired a few smokers and they are terrible on productivity. They leave their workstation almost every hour, it seems, to go out for a smoke - I can't have people taking a 10-15 min break every hour, while non-smokers don't get that luxury.
That article says we can't ask this in a job interview, because it is asking about what they do outside of work. But, this has nothing to do with outside of work - it most certainly affects productivity and job performance.
How can we state the question in the interview so we stop hiring smokers that waste away their day?
Or, can we state that we don't allow smoke breaks be a way to just state our policy and then smokers won't want to work here? We don't have this in our current handbook, but I'd be totally for adding it.
Can we also terminate someone for cause for skipping out on the job so frequently?
Thank you!
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Olivia Kent replied 4 months ago.

Employers generally do not have to give breaks during the day, so if a company does allow breaks, it can put whatever conditions it wants to on those breaks. Restrictions can also include limits on how long the breaks can be, how many breaks occur during the day, and where the breaks can or cannot be taken. (So, for example, you can say employees are required to stay indoors during breaks - which would effectively notify smokers that smoke breaks are not permissible.) Thus, if an employee is normally allowed two breaks per eight-hour shift, the employer can legally deny any extra breaks for smoking. You're definitely better off adding it to your handbook so there is no confusion down the line. As for termination, if you're going to make the changes to the breaks schedule a policy you need to let the employees try to change before you go about terminating them for not changing. You want to create a paper trail.

Expert:  Olivia Kent replied 4 months ago.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions or you need me to clarify anything. I'd be happy to do so. Could you also please take a moment to submit a rating if you're satisfied with your assistance; this will not cost you anything extra but it's the only way I get credit for assisting you.

Expert:  Olivia Kent replied 4 months ago.

Hello. I noticed you have not yet submitted feedback and therefore it remains "Open" on my end. I was wondering if you need any additional information or need me to clarify anything first. I’d be happy to do so. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask them in this thread. I want to make sure you are completely satisfied BEFORE you submit your feedback.

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