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Smoke Break Policy Related Questions

Smoke breaks and discrimination against smokers creates a never ending debate among employees. Smokers and non-smokers often have questions about their rights as employees. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any of your questions related to smoke breaks and discrimination against smokers. Below are five of the top smoke break questions answered by the Experts.

Can an employer prohibit employees from smoking during work hours?

There is no law which requires that an employer must let employees smoke during work hours. Many employers have started hiring only non-smoking employees. General preference of non-smoking employee usually leans toward employers such as hospitals and other health care providers, police and fire departments. With the ever growing knowledge of the harmful side-effects of smoking, many establishments are now deemed smoke free, therefore allowing for no smoking policies.

In Michigan, can smokers be allowed paid breaks when non smokers are not?

The state of Michigan does not require that employers offer any paid breaks. It is the employer’s decision on which employees are given paid breaks. This is legal so long as the choices are not based on race, religion, age, gender or disability. Usually, the majority of employers try to provide all employees with similar break allowances. However, this does not mean that all employees are entitled to paid breaks.

Can an employer prohibit employees from smoking on their lunch break?

Usually, an employer cannot stop an employee from smoking if they are not clocked-in (such as lunch break). The exception to this would be if your employer has a smoke-free work environment and the employees are not permitted to leave the workplace during the work shift even during a lunch break. However, it is possible for an employer to prohibit the employee from smoking if there is a negative impact on the work environment. This is common in places like a hospital or a health care setting.

What are a smoker’s rights in the workplace?

Smokers are not permitted any special provisions in the workplace. Smokers are not a protected class, which means they cannot claim any rights related to smoking. The employer has the right to refuse anyone to smoke within the work area and can deny smoke breaks. The employer also has the right to increase healthcare premiums to smokers if they choose to do so.

Is it legal to allow company drivers smoking privileges and prohibit smoking for office workers?

It is legal for an employer to allow different rules for different classes. There is no state or federal law that requires an employer to maintain the same rules for all employees. The only exception to this would be if the decisions are based on race, gender, age, or religion.

Whether you are a smoker who is being discriminated against or a non smoker wanting to know about your rights in the work place that allows smoking, you may have legal questions that require an experienced answer. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer your questions about smoke breaks and smoke break policy in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
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Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
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Recent Smoke Break Questions

  • I own a commission hair salon and one if my employees want

    I own a commission hair salon and one if my employees want to booth rent. I do not offer booth renting so now she plans on leaving my salon and look for a salon that booth rents. She is also requesting her client lust which we build for her. She started 2 years ago with no client and now she has about 75 client that she sees on a regular basis. Am I obligated to give her a list and do I have to keep her employed until she finds a new place? If I fire her for wanting to move on what are my right?
  • I have been reading that the cap damages for federal for discrimination

    I have been reading that the cap damages for federal for discrimination complaints for one person is 300,000. Is this awarded only in federal court? I also heard there is state damages that can also be awarded. Is there a cap on this too?
  • I am a registered nurse doing alot of telephone triage with

    I am a registered nurse doing alot of telephone triage with one or two other nurses. We get hundreds of calls a day, messages taken by operators and forwarded to us via computer. The messages appear in a queue and we answer calls based on medical necessity. The volume of calls is often more than we can handle in 8-9 hrs and calls are left in the queue to be returned the next work day. As I am the last nurse to leave, I am concerned that the calls left unanswered in the queue are ultimately my responsibility. If one of those calls is not communicated accurately or I misinterpret what is written as being less serious than what it truly is and don't call a patient back before leaving and the patient becomes sicker, sustains harm, am I liable? My nurse manager says she has not problem leaving 25 unanswered calls in the queue. However, we have had a couple of calls where the situation seemed, according to the message we received, less serious and potentially life threatening than it turned out to be when we called the patient. So, are unanswered calls to my my office putting me at risk of a malpractice suit?
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