Can you fire an employee for smelling like tobacco smoke? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Can you fire an employee for smelling like tobacco smoke?

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in HR Management,Human Resources

by Kathryn Nash, Esq., Gray Plant Mooty, Minneapolis

Since 2007, when Minnesota’s Freedom to Breathe Act took effect, smoking has been banned in Minnesota workplaces. Now, new studies about the harmful effects of “third-hand smoke”—the toxic residue left by tobacco smoke on hair, clothes and other surfaces—have caused some employers to take their no-smoking policies to new heights.

Many employers are now considering policies banning even the smell of tobacco smoke in the workplace.  

However, in many states, including Minnesota, employers are generally prohibited from taking adverse action against applicants or employees for their use of lawful consumable products off site during nonwork hours.

That means a no-tobacco-smoke-smell policy could run afoul of other legal obligations.  

Smell like smoke, you’re fired

Frauenshuh Cancer Center in St. Louis Park made national news this summer when it fired an employee for smelling l...(register to read more)

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George April 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Question:
What if the person who is fired is a non-smoker whose spouse is a smoker, and the employee comes to work smelling like smoke from someone else’s smoking? Couldn’t it then be argued that the law or work policy prohibits someone else’s rights? How can I be fired for someone else’s actions?

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