As a non smoker do I have any rights?

I am a recreation therapist. I work in a nursing home. I have worked at my place of employment for 13 years. I am a non smoker. My boss informed me that I may be required to do the smoking pass with the residents. I live a heathly lifestyle. I do not think it is fair that a non smoker has to be forced to do the smoking pass. I feel that I have a right to say no to this task. Can I be fired for not doing what I am told? I do not want to be exposed to second hand smoke.

Asked on June 2, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Quite frankly, I'm surprised that smoking is permitted anywhere in the nursing home.  That would be the first question I'd want to ask a Connecticut lawyer (I'm not), if there were state health code regulations or statutes that made smoking in a nursing home illegal, along with state law about second hand smoke in the workplace generally.

If it turned out that smoking in the nursing home is illegal, then you might fit into one of the relatively few exceptions to "at will" employment, under which most employees can be fired for no reason at all, if your state has a "whistle blower" law or something else that fits the unique facts of your case.  For reliable advice, get all those facts to a qualified attorney in your area, and one place to find lawyer is our website,

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