New York law toughens smoking rules for hospitals, residential healthcare employers

October 21, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Peter A. Jones

A new law going into effect October 29 means employees of New York hospitals and residential healthcare facilities may not smoke anywhere on the grounds or within 15 feet of any entrance or exit to a building or the grounds of such facilities. The law allows a narrow exception for patients of residential healthcare facilities and their visitors or guests, but there’s no exception for employees.

Although the New York Clean Indoor Air Act has prohibited smoking by employees in the workplace for years, that law doesn’t prohibit smoking outside an employer’s premises. The new amendment, signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 31, requires general hospitals and residential healthcare facilities to prohibit their employees from smoking on their grounds and within 15 feet of all entrances to or exits from their grounds.

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Oklahoma workplace tobacco law revisions effective November 1

October 16, 2013 1 COMMENTS

by Charles S. Plumb

Effective November 1, 2013, two Oklahoma statutes governing how an employer addresses tobacco use in its workplace or by its employees will be revised.

Under the new 21 Okla. Stat. § 1247, lighted tobacco products in any form are prohibited in indoor workplaces. With a few exceptions, this prohibition includes work areas, employee lounges, restrooms, conference rooms, classrooms, cafeterias, and hallways. An Oklahoma employer may choose to provide its workforce with a smoking room so long as no work is performed in the room and it is fully enclosed and exhausted directly to the outside. Employers should post notices informing employees and guests that the workplace is tobacco-free.

While employers have the right to prevent employees from using tobacco products in the workplace, since 1991, state law has prohibited Oklahoma employers from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their use of tobacco during nonworking hours. This prohibition applies to discrimination against tobacco users regarding their compensation or any other terms or conditions of employment.

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