Blog

Smoking In The Workplace – Even Off Hours?


Needless to say, the employee sued under a novel concept: that the termination may constitute an interference with that employee’s right to participate in the company’s benefits plan in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Trying to save a few dollars in health insurance by banning employees’ smoking all the time may seem like a good idea, but I suspect the money they saved will be nullified by the court battle that’s ensuing.

Generally speaking:

  1. You can ban employees from smoking in the workplace (most states prohibit smoking indoors).

  2. You can limit employees’ rest breaks – i.e. a smoke break – to the minimum allowed by state law (normally 10 minutes for every four hours worked)

But overly prohibiting off-premises conduct is not a good idea.

From Thomas J. McCord, Gary J. Oberstein, Renee M. Jackson of Nixon Peabody.

0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

One of the best ways of improving morale without costs is to consider Alternative Workweek schedules.  Up until January 1, it has been most difficult to implement.  However, California law regarding a