New Smoking in the Workplace Rules Effective Today

Jun 9 2016 - Health and Safety, Workplace Policies, Workplace Safety - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Smoking in the Workplace Not Allowed

Make sure your policies and practices comply with the new workplace smoking rules!

California generally bans smoking in the workplace, and new rules extending that ban are effective today, June 9, 2016.

Governor Brown recently signed a package of bills that expanded already-existing smoke-free workplace protections. In part, the new legislation:

  • Treats the use of e-cigarettes and other nicotine-delivery devices, such as vaporizers, as “smoking” — thus extending existing smoking bans to cover such products.
  • Expands smoke-free workplace protections by getting rid of most of the existing exemptions that permitted smoking in certain work environments, such as bars, hotel lobbies and warehouse facilities.
  • Eliminates the ability to have employer-designated smoking break rooms.
  • Expands the workplace smoking ban to include owner-operated businesses and to eliminate any small business exception for employers with five or fewer employees.
  • Raises the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, except for active military personnel.

Employers will want to review existing workplace smoking policies and practices to ensure compliance with the new law.

Exercise caution if you think an exemption to the ban might apply to your place of work — the exceptions are limited.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

Creating and maintaining a well-crafted employee handbook helps protect California employers from lawsuits. Since California employment laws can change at any time, CalChamber’s Employee Handbook Creator helps you keep your handbook policies up-to-date, including these new smoking updates.

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