AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Putting Out Fires with a No-Smoking Policy
A clear policy on smoking in the workplace can cool employee disputes--and take the heat off the employer.
Few employment issues are as divisive or emotionally charged as the rights of smokers and nonsmokers in the workplace. On one hand, many smokers believe that their right to smoke at work is a basic freedom; they view a ban or curb on smoking at work as the employer's or, in some cases, the state's denial of their independence and freedom of choice. Many nonsmokers, on the other hand, believe their right to enjoy a clean and safe environment is violated by co-workers who smoke at work and by employers who fail to prohibit, or at least regulate, smoking in the workplace.
The first order of business for the HR manager who is asked to help draft a policy on smoking in the workplace is to become familiar with the area's local and state laws on workplace smoking: These vary greatly.
In some parts of the country employers are spared having to decide whether to regulate smoking: Their state and local laws leave little room for decisions by individual employers. In other areas, however, where regulations do not exist, employers are left on their own to grapple with the issue of smoking in the workplace, and are forced to devise the best policy they can to meet the conflicting demands of smoking and nonsmoking employees. The task is not an enviable one.
Safety in the Workplace
There is evidence that people who do not smoke can be harmed by passively …