Q. Our smoking area is outside our building, but the smoke seems to be drifting into the ventilation system. An employee who is super-sensitive to smells has complained. Can we move smokers to their vehicles? Do we even need to provide a place for smokers onsite? — Paula, Nebraska
A. Most states, including Nebraska, prohibit smoking indoors at places of employment. Employers must take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the law, such as posting signs, removing ashtrays and notifying employees of the law. But there is no requirement that you provide a smoking room or nonsmoking break room. So, you could move the sensitive worker to a new office, move the smoking area farther from your building or eliminate the smoking area altogether.
Note that many state laws protect workers who exercise their rights (that is, complaining of an employer’s failure to ensure compliance) against retaliation.
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