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Can we legally ban all employee smoking at work?

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Q. We don’t allow smoking during the workday, even during lunch breaks. An employee complained to HR that this is discriminatory and mentioned that she may seek legal action. Is our company policy illegal?

A. Generally, your company is allowed to have a smoke-free workplace. This includes smoking bans inside the facilities, as well as outdoors on company grounds.

You did not indicate whether the employee is demanding to smoke while on your company’s premises. If the employee simply wishes to smoke during her lunch break while away from the premises, your company likely cannot make her refrain from smoking.   

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