What’s the law on demanding a nonsmoking work force? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

What’s the law on demanding a nonsmoking work force?

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Q. The media often have stories about companies that adopt a “no-smoker” policy in order to save on health insurance costs, and force their staffs to quit smoking to keep their jobs. Can my Colorado company do this?

No. Colorado has a special state law that prohibits employers from terminating workers for engaging in lawful off-duty conduct, such as smoking. This law is set forth at C.R.S. § 24-34-402.5 and is titled “Unlawful prohibition of legal activities as a condition of employment.”

When it was passed, it was referred to as the “smoker’s rights bill,” but some of the reported decisions dealt with employees who claimed they were fired because they were homosexual. Colorado recently amended the state Anti-Discrimination Act and now expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That statute is C.R.S. § 24-34-402.

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