Is it legal to have a smoking break room?

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2010

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Is it legal to have a smoking break room?

I work in a restaurant that has a smoking break room and I am a non-smoker with severe asthma problems. I try to stay away from the break room as much as possible but that is where our lockers and restrooms are located. In the past 2 months I have been hospitalized twice for my asthma and the number 1 trigger for my asthma is smoke. I am very good about keeping myself away from things that affect my asthma but at work I feel as though have no choice. Is this legal?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Many states have regulations that allow an employer to designate a "smoking room" for use by their employees.  Some states - like California I believe - have you apply for a permit in order to do so.  So I am thinking that maybe your state allows it as well.  But I do think that the rights of the smokers have to be balanced against your rights as a non-smoker and that you have a right to have access to your locker and the restroom without fear of setting off your asthma.  So I would call the Department of Labor and speak with someone as to the matter.  Maybe even your state Attorney General's Office.  Good luck to you. 

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