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Smoking in the Workplace Laws

The days when smoking in the workplace was as accepted as drinking coffee or soda are long gone. Concerns about the impact of second-hand smoke and the comfort of non-smokers have prompted most states to enact laws. Clean indoor air laws prohibit smoking in the workplace. Read below five of the top smoking in the workplace questions that have been answered by the Experts.

In the state of Vermont, can an employer establish other policies like smoke free cars or outdoor areas of the workplace?

The law only applies to workplaces within enclosed structures, like office buildings. However, many Vermont employers have already voluntarily established smoke free campus policies or smoke free outdoor areas around the perimeter of buildings. Setting policies for smoking in company vehicles, or vehicles located on company property, is up to the individual employer

If an employer has banned smoking in the workplace, are they obligated to provide a designated smoking area?

In most situations, an employer is not obligated to provide an employee the right to smoke outside or near their premises. Many employers have band any smoking near or around their office building. This is the employers' decision to approve and allow employees or visitors to smoke outside of their facility. Many employers are banning employees from smoking while at work, from smelling of smoke, from smoking in or near their building.

In the state of Indiana is it legal for an employer to ban smoking on public sidewalks

It is not illegal for an employer to ban smoking around a certain perimeter of the place of employment. This means that if the employer wanted to ban smoking on public sidewalks if it is in the perimeter set forth around the place of business the employer has that right.

In Oklahoma can an employer provide a smoking Area to one group of employees and not to another group of employees when the company has ban smoking in all undesignated areas? Or is this considered discrimination?

Employer policies regarding smoking are typically issues that the employer may choose to enforce or not to enforce. That's usually the employer's business.

Unfortunately, employers don't typically have to enforce policies evenly and they can extend privileges at work to some employees and not others. This is true with smoking privileges as well, provided employers provide by any workplace smoking regulations mandated by law.

That said, if an employer treats employees differently based on unlawful discrimination, an employee could have a basis for legal action. Unlawful discrimination includes discrimination based on age over 40, race, gender, and disability.

What is the law regarding a smoke free workplace in California.

The California Smoke-Free Workplace Law prohibits smoking in any enclosed workplace and no employer can allow smoking in such enclosed area by any one, employee or not.

Among the exceptions are: if no nonsmokers are in the cab of a motor truck, the smokers can legally smoke in the truck. Warehouse facilities that measure more than 100,000 square feet and have less than 20 employees can also be exempt. Employers may designate break rooms as long as the room has proper ventilation which will remove the smoke from the air and the break room is not located in the workplace where other workers will have to enter. Also, employers who have less than 6 employees have the authority to allow smoking as long as the designated area is not accessible to minors, all employees required to enter the designated smoking area gave consent to the area, exhaust fans move the air outside the designated area and proper ventilation is installed.

Some states prohibit smoking in all workplaces, public and private. Other states have a variety of laws that restrict smoking at work in one way or another, such as limiting smoking to designated areas, prohibiting smoking in only public (not private) workplaces, or prohibiting smoking in only certain types of workplaces (such as hospitals and restaurants). To find out about the law in your state, you can ask the Experts.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8091
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
characters left:
3 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

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    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
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    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

Recent Smoking Questions

  • I was recently let go from work and it happened so quickly

    I was recently let go from work and it happened so quickly I am not really sure what happened. I was elected Secretary & Treasurer of a S Corporation. I worked there for almost 12 years and I was so overloaded with work I couldn't keep up with everything. I was doing estimating, project management, contract administration, bookkeeping an various of other duties that were not originally my job. I asked them for help multiple times and I was told to work harder and work longer by one owner and the other owner always told me I never worked enough. I would bring work home during the week and on weekends just trying to catch up which I never could. I planned on leaving after the beginning of the year because my health was getting so bad and I was exhausted and so disorganized that I couldn't do my job efficiently or even figure out which job I needed to do because everyone needed everything now and we did a lot of public works so there was a lot of paperwork involved. It has been a very hostile place to work for a long time now and one of the owners threw his printer against the wall just 3 feet away from me because it wouldn't print, he's thrown his phone many times as well. I was vacuuming one day and he said that next time he wants to see me in a French maid outfit when I do vacuum. He also made a comment that when I was fixing my computer wires under my desk that I should be kneeling under his desk in front of him. I always tried to fix the computers because they didn't have an IT person, they expected me to clean the bathrooms and the office. Now one of the owner has hired their daughter to replace me with no experience. I was having a lot of computer crashes on my computer so I bought a new one to try and transfer the data but the accounting wouldn't ever back up for some reason the files were always corrupt of it would say it couldn't back up so I was working on putting everything into excel spreadsheets so I could balance everything out and put in new computer and the new accounting so I wouldn't have any more issues and the computer started smoking on burnt up the computer and hard drive. I had some files saved but not all. I worked all weekend trying to put information that I had in new computer but didn't finish and the owners showed up at my door with some of my personal stuff from work and told me to give them the keys to office and that they will see me in court. I asked them what I did wrong and they said you know what you did but I honestly don't know. I didn't get a chance to finish correcting everything and apparently they also hired a bookkeeper really quick which I spoke with to try and help but was so confused. I apparently think they had the same idea of letting me go and I wanted to leave but not under these circumstances. I have tried calling them and they said I messed up some things and that I owe them money but they won't give me specifics of what I did and I was so overloaded with work and trying to keep up that I don't know if I missed something or not but they didn't give me a chance to find out. I also never received my last paycheck. I also have a copy of them releasing me as secretary/treasurer signed by them but I guess they need to admen it with the state and I don't want to be responsible for their business so if they won't talk with me, how do I remove myself from that. If they are threating me with some type of charges, how do I protect myself. They always told me what I could and couldn't do but I don't have it in writing because they didn't like to put things in writing. Lost and not sure who to talk to or how to go about protecting myself and family.
  • Hello- I work for a company that handles sterilized dental

    Hello-
    I work for a company that handles sterilized dental supplies in the state of CO. I know smokers are in a protected class in CO. While our facility is a non-smoking facility, if we hire smokers, then the residue on their hands and clothing can contaminate our product. Is there a way, based on our sterilization requirements, that we can claim a BFOQ status and not hire smokers? I am not sure what the process is, but we don't want to do anything illegal, either.
    Thank you-
    Kathy
  • Hello, I have a question regarding hiring decisions based on

    Hello, I have a question regarding hiring decisions based on criminal records. I pleaded guilty to fraud in 2009, so i have a felony. I applied to a company for a position working on a machine making surgical blades? I was advised by the receptionist that the job did not require experience , could not be a smoker , and the hours. She then proceed to advise me the process was to leave my resume and it would be reviewed and would be called for an interview time if they are interested. She ( the receptionist) review my resume and decided to schedule an interview. At this point I left , leaving only my resume and phone numbers. I did not fill out an application or asked any further questions. I intended to disclose my felony at the interview. A few hours later I get a call from HR and She asked if , I was the person that just left the resume and she stated that she just wanted to make sure the interview was set up, she proceeded to ask my year of birth , as soon as I did , she mentioned the month and date. I pretty sure that she was looking up or doing a criminal background check , which I understand . She then proceed to advise me that she could not interview me for the position. I have done some research and there are guide lines that they must follow, type and severity of crime, does it have an impact on the position that you are applying and time of charge. Do I have any grounds to make a complaint to any government agency is my main question. I feel that they are not following protocol and not just because i had my interview cancelled, just the way that they made the decision. If asked I would have disclosed and explained the felony charge.
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