Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Indiana), signed a state-wide anti-smoking legislation into law that affects nearly all Indiana employers and public establishments effective July 1, 2012. The legislation exempts limited categories of establishments and premises from the new law. The exempted establishments and premises include: bars, riverboats, casinos, retail tobacco stores, and certain fraternal clubs; all other businesses must comply.
The law prohibits smoking within the following locations:
- In a “place of employment,” defined as “an enclosed area of a structure that is a place of employment.” Private, employee-owned vehicles are not included within the term “place of employment.”
- In a “public place,” defined as “an enclosed area of a structure in which the public is invited or permitted.”
- Within eight feet of a public entrance to either a place of employment or a public place.
- In a vehicle owned, leased, or operated by the state, if the vehicle is being used for a governmental function.
- In school buses that are being used to transport children to school or school-related functions.
What are your responsibilities as an employer?
- Inform your employees and prospective employees about the smoking prohibition. Employers may want to consider placing the required notice on bulletin boards and on company Intranet sites. They may also want to consider updating the non-smoking policy in their employee handbook, if needed. They may also want to consider adding a non-smoking statement to your employment application.
- Remove all ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia from any area where smoking is prohibited by law.
- Post signs at all entrances to a non-smoking area that read “State Law Prohibits Smoking within 8 Feet of the Entrance” or other similar language.
- If a place of employment or public place is exempted (refer to the list of exempted establishments above) from the law and it allows smoking, it must post signs in the establishment or on the premises that read, “WARNING: Smoking is Allowed in This Establishment” or other similar language.
- Request that any individual who is smoking in violation of the law refrain from smoking.
- Remove from the public place any individual who continues to smoke after receiving a request to refrain from smoking. This may mean contacting the police for assistance in their removal.
The anti-smoking law clarifies that local governments are permitted to enact laws that are more restrictive than the state’s law. The anti-smoking law does not supersede any local law already in effect that is more restrictive than the state’s law. The law also prohibits employers from terminating, refusing to hire, or retaliating against an individual who reports a violation of this law or who exercises any right or complies with any obligation required by the law. The new law does not explain what recourse the employee has if the employer violates the prohibition against discrimination or retaliation. An employer’s noncompliance with the requirements of the anti-smoking law may constitute a Class B infraction, which may carry a fine of up to $1,000.00. Noncompliance with the requirements for more than three times constitutes a Class A infraction and may carry a fine of up to $10,000.00.
For additional information on this topic, please contact New Focus HR.
Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC