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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.
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