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Smoking - On/Off of Company Property Illinois

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  • Smoking - On/Off of Company Property Illinois

    We have several store locations where we do not allow smoking on company property and employees may not leave the premises for their paid; however they may leave at lunch. We also have several warehouse locations, who because they do not service customers directly have taken their break and walk across the street to smoke. The problem with this is that we have had some complaints at one of the warehouse locations because the employees are leaving our property and standing on the neighbors property to smoke. The only way into the company's property is from a major highway. We're concerned if we tell the employees they must leave our property and cannot go onto the neighbor property, they will stand on the highway shoulder. This could compromise their safety and we certainly don't want that to happen.

    We've considered telling these employees they may not smoke during their short paid break times and only at lunch when they may get into their cars and leave the property. If we do this for one warehouse, we want to do it for all warehouse locations to remain uniform.

    My only question is, can we state, "employees are not permitted to leave the warehouse premises during paid breaks without management approval"? Do you see any issue with this statement? It would cure our issue with the neighbor complaint, keep the employees safe from the highway shoulder and provide consistent policy between all the warehouses.

  • #2
    Since you are paying them for that time, I don't see why not. One thing to consider is some type of smoking cessation program if you don't already have one.

    If they complain, you can state for employee safety, health and productivity reasons the policy has changed. I wouldn't directly blame the neighbor because you don't want anyone to retaliate. But I do have to agree with the neighbor as they have probably had to clean up butts.

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    • #3
      I work on a campus which is smoke free by law and borders two other smoke free campuses also by law. If you are a smoker and work here you are out of luck. You can ban employees smoking on the neighboring property and your own. Where they go to smoke if they must is on them. It is rude in the extreme to leave cigarette butts and such on someone else's property so you are well within your rights to prohibit this.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Illinois has no law regarding breaks. Your employees are being paid for the time they are on break and it is perfectly reasonable for you to require that they remain on the employer's premises.
        David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
        Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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