Can employers ban smoking by employees in public smoking areas?

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Can employers ban smoking by employees in public smoking areas?

Also, banning in vehicles parked in surrounding lot.

Asked on March 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You hear about bans on smoking every day in the news and it seems as though smoking has become a crime in this country.  Many states - Minnesota included - have enacted laws that support the rights of smokers, but these laws are meant to support rights outside the work place environment.  Smokers’ rights laws do not prevent an employer you from placing a workplace smoking ban or regulating smoking in your building or factory, or at other work sites. In fact, many states impose restrictions on workplace smoking to protect nonsmokers from the health problems that may be caused by secondhand smoke. So, as a practical matter, even if your state prohibits discrimination against smokers, you can create policies to stop smoking in the workplace which ban smoking entirely and discipline any employee who violates your policy. Further, you can enforce your break rules against smokers and ban smoking breaks entirely, too.


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