States With Smoker's Rights Laws against Discrimintion in the Workplace

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Sheri

New Philadelphia, OH

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#1
Sep 25, 2007
 

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Investigation Concerning Termination of Smokers And/Or Charging Smokers Higher Healthcare or Disability Premiums
http://www.cmht.com/investigation_smokers.php
In 30 states and the District of Columbia, state law makes it illegal for companies to impose smoking bans on their employees when they are off duty. In addition, the federal employee benefits law, ERISA, prevents employers from discriminating against and/or firing employees, here smokers, to interfere with the attainment of any right under a benefit plan, here the right to health benefits.

Recently, a number of companies, including Weyco and The Scotts Company, have instituted policies to terminate smokers, even if those persons do not smoke at work. The reason cited by companies such as Weyco and Scotts, for adoption of these policies is increased healthcare costs. Click here for more examples. Both liberal and conservative civil liberties groups have denounced these policies as an improper invasion of employee’s rights to conduct activities on their off hours.(For more information, click here)

There is also a trend toward charging smokers more for health insurance. A growing number of employers are requiring employees who use tobacco to pay higher premiums, hoping that will motivate more of them to stop smoking and lower healthcare costs. Among the list of firms reported to have such policies to charge smokers higher premiums include Cardinal Health, J.P. Morgan Chase, Meijer Inc., Gannett Co., American Financial Group Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and Northwest Airlines. Such policies may also violate the federal employee benefits law, ERISA.

Cohen Milstein is currently conducting an investigation as to whether such policies violate ERISA and/or state law. If a violation can be proven, reinstatement as an employee, and reinstatement in the plan or reimbursement of premiums (including back benefits) may be available as equitable relief under ERISA (although the scope of available relief under ERISA remains controversial).

If are a current or former employee of a company with such a policy and fall into one of the following categories, please contact one of the persons listed at the bottom of this page:

1. A smoker currently employed at a company which imposes higher healthcare premiums on smokers than non-smokers;

2. A smoker currently employed at a company which terminates persons who smoke; or;

3. A smoker terminated by a company as a result of a no-smoking policy.
Sheri

New Philadelphia, OH

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Sep 25, 2007
 

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State Smoker Protection Laws
http://slati.lungusa.org/appendixf.asp
State Year Code
Arizona 1991 ARIZ. REV. STAT.§ 36-601.02
California CA LABOR CODE § 96(k) & 98.6
Colorado 1990 CO REV. STAT. ANN § 24-34-402.5
Connecticut 2003 CT GEN. STAT. ANN.§ 31-40s
District of Columbia 1993 D.C. CODE ANN.§ 7-1703.3
Illinois 1987 820 ILL. COMP. STAT. 55/5
Indiana 2006 IND. CODE §§ 22-5-4-1 et seq.
Kentucky 1994 KY REV. STAT. ANN.§ 344.040
Louisiana 1991 LA REV. STAT. ANN.§ 23:966
Maine 1991 ME REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 26,§ 597
Minnesota 1992 MINN. STAT.§ 181.938
Mississippi 1994 MISS. CODE ANN.§ 71-7-33
Missouri 1992 MO. REV. STAT.§ 290.145
Montana 1993 MONT. CODE ANN.§§ 39-2-313 & 39-2-314
Nevada 1991 NEV. REV. STAT.§ 613.333
New Hampshire 1991 N.H. REV. STAT. ANN.§ 275:37-a
New Jersey 1991 N.J. STAT. ANN.§§ 34:6B-1 et seq.
New Mexico 1991 N.M. STAT. ANN.§§ 50-11-1 et seq.
New York 1992 N.Y.[LABOR] LAW § 201-d
North Carolina 1991 N.C. GEN. STAT.§ 95-28.2
North Dakota 1993 N.D. CENT. CODE §§ 14-02.4-01 et seq.
Oklahoma 1991 OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 40,§ 500
Oregon 1989 OR. REV. STAT.§§ 659A.315 & 659A.885
Rhode Island 2005 R.I. GEN. LAWS § 23-20.10-14
South Carolina 1991 S.C. CODE ANN.§ 41-1-85
South Dakota 1991 S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 60-4-11
Tennessee 1990 TENN. CODE ANN.§ 50-1-304
Virginia 1989 VA. CODE ANN.§ 2.2-2902
West Virginia 1992 W. VA. CODE § 21-3-19
Wisconsin 1991 WIS. STAT.§§ 111.31 et seq.
Wyoming 1992 WYO. STAT. ANN.§§ 27-9-101 et seq.

Last updated: 8/15/07

just candid

AOL

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#3
Sep 28, 2007
 

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The laws are not uniform,most can be gotten around, with no major problem.I wonder why the same people who jump up and down about owners rights sing another song now. The job is the owners,he owns that job.He should get to decide who and why he terminates anyones job.
Sheri

New Philadelphia, OH

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Sep 28, 2007
 

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Investigation Concerning Termination of Smokers And/Or Charging Smokers Higher Healthcare or Disability Premiums
In 30 states and the District of Columbia, state law makes it illegal for companies to impose smoking bans on their employees when they are off duty. In addition, the federal employee benefits law, ERISA, prevents employers from discriminating against and/or firing employees, here smokers, to interfere with the attainment of any right under a benefit plan, here the right to health benefits.

1. A smoker currently employed at a company which imposes higher healthcare premiums on smokers than non-smokers;

2. A smoker currently employed at a company which terminates persons who smoke; or;

3. A smoker terminated by a company as a result of a no-smoking policy.

For more information, contact:

R. Joseph Barton, Esq. jbarton@cmht.com
Abby Scott ascott@cmht.com
Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.
1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005
George

Seattle, WA

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#5
Jun 3, 2008
 

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has anyone else googled this website:

<health benefits - nicotine>

There may be, under certain circumstances, physical health benefits from smoking and nicotine.
Google the site; read the reports and make up your own mind.
Randy

Cape Coral, FL

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#6
Dec 21, 2009
 

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Hey I was wondering if anyone out there could help me out????? The place where I work is saying that after Christmas this year that some employees will not be allowed to smoke while others can....It is a restaurant and I am a server...they are saying that any servers are not allowed to smoke and that the cooks and everyone else can.....There has to be something wrong with this....Can the really ban smoking for some but not for all??? Anyone know. I am in Florida. Just thought I would throw it out there and see if anyone has any comments or suggestions.
Increase stupidity tax

Naperville, IL

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Dec 21, 2009
 

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Randy wrote:
Hey I was wondering if anyone out there could help me out????? The place where I work is saying that after Christmas this year that some employees will not be allowed to smoke while others can....It is a restaurant and I am a server...they are saying that any servers are not allowed to smoke and that the cooks and everyone else can.....There has to be something wrong with this....Can the really ban smoking for some but not for all??? Anyone know. I am in Florida. Just thought I would throw it out there and see if anyone has any comments or suggestions.
Florida is a right to work state. They can fire you at will with no reason whatsoever.

Life is not fair. The sooner you get used to it the better.
Rick

United States

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#8
Jun 22, 2011
 

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Increase stupidity tax wrote:
<quoted text>
Florida is a right to work state. They can fire you at will with no reason whatsoever.
Life is not fair. The sooner you get used to it the better.
Talk about stupidity! Right to work means you don't have to join a union to work at a place with a union.
Christina

Grand Island, NE

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Oct 3, 2011
 

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Doesn't matter whether you smoke or not. The US is becoming more and more controlling and dictating. People who don't smoke are blind to the fact that taking away the FREEDOM to smoke on YOUR OWN TIME AT HOME OFF WORK paves the way to the next law and the next and the next so soon they will take away the FREEDOM to drink beer, wine or spirits of any kind on YOUR OWN TIME AT HOME OFF WORK, the right to own a gun or hunt your own deer, etc. You can just keep going until no one anywhere has any freedom replaced with fear if I do this or do that I will get in trouble, get fired or be put in jail. I don't smoke but tolerate smokers. Their bad habit, not mine. I don't drink. Should we ban that too? Seems the majority of the US drinks alcohol something or another. Maybe we should stop that as well? What about gun accidents? Take those away from the people too? Well you need to take medical marijuana too because it creates too many problems. Prescription drugs cause accidents on the job. Can never take prescription drugs again if you want to work any employment! FREEDOM INCLUDES OTHER PEOPLE YOU SELFISH FECKS! Grow up and let other people live their lives without you trying to run it for them. If they die of lung cancer so be it. If you die of alcohol poisoning so be it. Second hand smoke can kill you? DUI drivers kill people too. It's a two way street with EVERYTHING!
FRISBEE

Anchorage, AK

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#10
Oct 3, 2011
 

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Calm down, Drama Queen.

Exactly whom has taken your freedom to smoke as much as you please?

Have at it. Smoke all day long. Nobody stopping you.
jealous

Congerville, IL

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#12
Dec 29, 2011
 

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yeah try smokeing at carhartt the first of the year and you will get your ass fired,dont tell me you can smoke anytime you want to.there no freedom in america anymore,but we all can pat airselfs on the back for that,we sit and bitch about everything but we dont do a thing about it.....
Sal

Santa Monica, CA

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#13
Dec 29, 2011
 

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The city of Santa Monica is moving toward banning smoking in your own home! Unless you can afford a house, which start at over one million...
http://www.smdp.com/Articles-local-news-c-201...
jlc

Lexington, NC

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#15
Jan 9, 2012
 
Where I work they just started a new tobacco free workplace. There is no tobacco products allowed on the property. They say we cannot even have them in our vehicle on company property. Can they do this or is this going to far.
BillB22

United States

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#16
Mar 22, 2012
 

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First of all I want to applaud Christina, Grand Island, NE for her comment, to be a non smoker and non drinker but she tolerates both. She had some very valid points as well as a lot of other folks. To call her a drama queen, hmmm... I don't think so. "Have at it. Smoke all day long. Nobody stopping you." WRONG! where I work, they give you two 15 minute breaks, and a half hour for lunch. They have recently gone to this Health Ahead smoke free enviroment. This prevents the smokers who choose to exercise their right to smoke (which is legal) on campus. THEN they add to the rules that if you want to smoke you have to leave the property, but in order to leave the property you have to clock out. So, now let me see "Have at it. Smoke all day long. Nobody stopping you" yes, companies are doing it, they are getting away with it. It's supposed to be a tobacco free campus, but I see it every day some people are dipping snuff this is a violation but I don't see that this is being enforced. I feel that if you are a smoker, they should allow it in restricted areas. Whether it jacks up the insurance premiums for the company... Oh well, should have thought about that before you hired the person, but wait thats discrimination. So, is making the campus or the work place discrimination?
trcman

Inverness, FL

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#17
Mar 31, 2012
 

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Christina wrote:
Doesn't matter whether you smoke or not. The US is becoming more and more controlling and dictating. People who don't smoke are blind to the fact that taking away the FREEDOM to smoke on YOUR OWN TIME AT HOME OFF WORK paves the way to the next law and the next and the next so soon they will take away the FREEDOM to drink beer, wine or spirits of any kind on YOUR OWN TIME AT HOME OFF WORK, the right to own a gun or hunt your own deer, etc. You can just keep going until no one anywhere has any freedom replaced with fear if I do this or do that I will get in trouble, get fired or be put in jail. I don't smoke but tolerate smokers. Their bad habit, not mine. I don't drink. Should we ban that too? Seems the majority of the US drinks alcohol something or another. Maybe we should stop that as well? What about gun accidents? Take those away from the people too? Well you need to take medical marijuana too because it creates too many problems. Prescription drugs cause accidents on the job. Can never take prescription drugs again if you want to work any employment! FREEDOM INCLUDES OTHER PEOPLE YOU SELFISH FECKS! Grow up and let other people live their lives without you trying to run it for them. If they die of lung cancer so be it. If you die of alcohol poisoning so be it. Second hand smoke can kill you? DUI drivers kill people too. It's a two way street with EVERYTHING!
I've been reading a lot of these postings about smoker discrimination in florida and your post is probably the best one i've read. Your absolutely right. Most of what i saw had to do with smoker's having lower productivity and higher health costs. but what about people on perscription drugs (that they are properly taking) such as pain killers which slow down the thought process making them slower, less focused and unmotivated. It's a very bad road to go down. I'm actually very fearfull for the future of this country.
Hugh Jass

Nashville, TN

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#18
Mar 31, 2012
 

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The related law that was under consideration (but not passed, as I recall) in Ohio would have denied business owners the right to refuse to employ a smoker but it WOULD have continued to permit a business owner to fire anyone who smelled of smoke at the workplace.
Two things in this jump out.

First is that virtually no smoker could count on holding a job for more than a shift or two if they relied on this law to force their hiring.

The other is the acknowledgment that employing smokers impacts those who must work alongside them.

All of the arguments based on the rights of the smoker to have the job is actually an argument based on the nonexistent right of the smoker to have that impact on those who work alongside the smoker.
Tpc

Petersham, MA

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#19
Apr 11, 2012
 
Our company gave us a 4 day notice that we will be a smoke free facility. So I don't agree to how they did it...CEO should of communicated she made a descision I think 30 day notice would of went over a lot better. ( She is a closet smoker and a control freak) So can she say you can't leave the property to have a smoke. is that illegal on your time..This is in massachusettes
Hole in your throat

Winnipeg, Canada

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#20
Apr 12, 2012
 

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Boo Hoo. Deal with it.
HowzBoutDat

Frederick, MD

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#21
Apr 12, 2012
 

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Hole in your throat wrote:
Boo Hoo.
Whiner!
Just Sayin

Winnipeg, Canada

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#22
Apr 13, 2012
 

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HowzBoutDat wrote:
<quoted text>Whiner!
Wiener

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