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  • smoking at work Illinois

    I work as an hourly manager for (deleted by moderator). We have never been able to take smoking breaks but when we were clocked out for our lunch we could go outside and sit on the patio to eat and smoke. Now they are making us sign a new policy stating that we can't smoke on or near company property.
    Are they allowed to tell us that if we are not being paid for our breaks. The other part of the policy allows for the bread bakers(who are locked in overnight) to smoke inside the building. Is this legal?

  • #2
    1. Please delete your employer.

    2. Yes, it is perfectly legal for them to tell you that you cannot smoke on the premises, and it is a new and growing trend amongst employers. In fact, here in my state of LA, it is state law that an employer CANNOT allow smoking indoors, nor in a company car.

    3. An employer is free to treat one category of employers completely different from another, as long as their reasoning for treating them differently is not based upon a protected characteristic. In your question, you specifically ask if the night bakers can be allowed to smoke in the building, while others aren't. My answer is yes, with a few caveats:
    a. Provided allowing employees to smoke is not illegal under any local, federal, or state law.
    b. As long as allowing one category of workers to smoke indoors is not based upon, nor has any direct relationship to any protected category. For instance, let's say that by chance, all of the office workers are female, and by chance only, all of the bakers are male. It could be argued that the men are receiving favorable treatment in the workplace (although you probably wouldn't get very far. You would have to prove it is BECAUSE they are male).

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    • #3
      bears00 is absolutely correct!

      There may be safety reasons why the night bakers are permitted to smoke indoors (that don't exist during normal business hours).

      This is definitely an increasing trend.

      Sorry! But what you describe does not specifically violate any labor statutues.

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      • #4
        If it's their property, either owned or leased, JoeC, I don't think it makes any difference how far "near" is. They have the absolute right to prohibit smoking on company property.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          I guess my question really is whether or not they can stop us from smoking when the public is allowed to smoke on the patio and we are not being paid for our lunch time. It is not a no smoking environment, it is only for a certain group.

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          • #6
            Smokers are not a protected class, so yes, they may. Employers may hold their employees to different standards than the general public and it's actually projecting a better "image" of the employer to not have their employees smoking in front of their customers. I'm not unbiased here, though, because I'm a smoker, too. However, I do understand the company's stance.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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            • #7
              Thank you to everyone for the help. Stacia

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              • #8
                In theory, I agree with Joe, but I know there have been cases where a 50- or 100-foot margin have been considered enforceable. I'm not sure in what states, though.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                • #9
                  I figured that's where you were coming from, Joe, and it's a valid point.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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