According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, 18.1% of all American adults smoke. However, following a combination of multiple state and federal laws and a slew of successful public health campaigns, the ground is shrinking beneath the feet of smokers. Not only are smokers not allowed to smoke in public areas in many states, now many businesses are exercising their right to set mandates on their property, banning smoking on premises among their employees. As should be no surprise in the lawsuit-happy United States, many Americans are hiring employment attorneys to fight against perceived discrimination, citing the banning of smoking as a violation of your rights as an employee.
Your “Right to Smoke” isn’t a Right at All
As WorkplaceFairness.org, a well-known organization devoted to equal rights in the workplace, writes, smoking at work is not among your rights as an employee. While there is no federal law speaking to the issue, multiple states do have laws regulating the consumption of tobacco in work environments. Some states simply mandate where smoking can take place on work grounds, with others banning the practice outright. That being said, regardless of the law, employers, as owners of private property, can set their own rules about tobacco consumption. Regardless of how your employer’s policy banning smoking at their establishment came about, it is not a violation of your rights as an employee. Any junior employment rights attorneys can tell you that.
A Matter of Health and Dollars
Now, before you find yourself incensed and unreasonably feeling as though you’re being unjustly discriminated against, there are some things you need to consider. You have a right to control what happens to you and your body. As CDC statistics show, 443,000 Americans die every year by exercising their right to choose to smoke. The problem, however, is that thousands more die from being exposed to your bad choices. By banning smoking on their property, your employer is protecting its workers’ health, and its shielding itself from any resulting liability.
Employee laws in the United States, according to the EEOC, protect Americans against employer discrimination and harassment based on their age, sex, race, religion, national origin, and disability status. However, there is no law, federal or state-level, that will put you on the winning side of a court room if you decide to hire an employment lawyer after your employer bans smoking. More info like this.