Employers, employees affected as Illinois adopts smoking ban

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Citing the toxicity of secondhand smoke, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 500, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, into law on July 23.  The law takes effect Jan. 1 and requires employers to provide smoke-free workplaces for all employees.

In remarks at the bill signing, Gov. Blagojevich noted a 2006 Surgeon General’s report showing that workers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20% to 30% more likely to develop cancer than workers in smoke-free environments. Bill supporters claim the new law will save more lives than seat belts and decrease lung cancer rates by 20%—and all tobacco-related deaths by 10%.

The new state law does not mean employers can ignore local anti-smoking ordinances. Municipalities may still enact smoking bans that are tougher than state law, but all Illinois jurisdictions must meet the new state standards when the law takes effect.

With a few narrowly tailored exceptions, the law bans smoking in all “p...(register to read more)

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