Discrimination against non-smokers?

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Question: I work in an office of about 25 people. I am in charge of HR responsibilities and other duties. A question came to me regarding paid time for people to smoke. Right now, we have 4 or 5 smokers in our office and they have normally taken two smoking breaks during the course of the day. Each break is for 15 minutes. While our policy manual does not specifically state that employees are allowed to smoke, it refers to brief coffee breaks. Are we required to pay our employees while they are outside smoking? I am afraid our non-smoking employees will say they are being discriminated against because they work a full 8 hours and the smokers are only working 7.5. Can we change this situation in the middle of the year or do we have to revise our policy manual and wait until the beginning of a new year? Can anyone give me some suggestions on how they handle this in their office or how their policies read regarding sm...(register to read more)

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Susan June 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I agree to some of the post, but what it does not address, is the fact that a person can limit you to 2 15 min breaks a day as a smoker, but the rest of the office or team, can come and go as they chose, because they don’t smoke, which means they are trusted to come and go as they deem necessary and the smoker is not. That is discrimination at it’s finest! And this happens where I work! If you are going to tell the smoker they can only have 2 15 min breaks a day, then it should be a requirement across the board for everyone, even if they don’t smoke!


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