MICHIGAN’S NEW LAW BANNING SMOKING IN THE WORKPLACE

Posted: 06/18/2010 in General Information, Member Experts
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On May 1, 2010, the new Michigan law banning smoking in the workplace went into effect.  Employers need to be aware of the changes in the new law that affects all public and private workplaces.  Employers who violate the law may be subject to fines of $500.00, and the law contains a specific anti-retaliation provision protecting employees and employment applicants.

Employers’ Legal Duty

Amendments to the Michigan Clean Indoor Air Act (“Act”) that became effective on May 1, 2010, require that private and public employers prohibit smoking of any substance that contains a tobacco product in all public and private enclosed indoor places of employment. 

Employers’ Legal Responsibilities Under new Law

The new Michigan law requires employers to make a good faith effort to prohibit smoking in places of employment and, specifically, requires employers to do the following:

a.         Clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international no smoking symbol where smoking is prohibited, including at the entrances to buildings or work places.

b.         Remove all ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia from all areas where smoking is prohibited.

c.         Ask any person smoking in violation of the Act to stop and, if they refuse, request the violator to leave, as well as inform them that they are in violation of state law and subject to penalties, and refuse to serve the violator.

Designated Indoor Areas

Employers that previously had designated indoor smoking areas must eliminate them.  Smoking indoors is only allowed in special circumstances involving pre-existing tobacco specialty retail stores, cigarette bars and casino gaming areas.  The smoking ban includes all workplaces and public places, such as restaurants, shopping malls, mechanic shops, nursing homes, schools, bowling alleys, arenas and private clubs, such as bingo halls, hotels and motels.  However, tribal casinos on Native American land are not governed by state law so smoking is still allowed at tribal casinos. 

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Employers that fail to comply with the new Michigan law are subject to a $100 fine for a first violation and a $500 fine for subsequent violations.  The health departments have authority to enforce the law.  Also, a private individual can file an injunctive relief action if the person has recently used a public place, or child care center, and feels there has been a smoking violation.

Anti-Retaliation

The Act contains a specific protection for any employee or employment applicant who objects to an employer’s failure to comply with the indoor smoking prohibition. 

Recommendations

Private and public employers should familiarize themselves with the new Michigan law banning smoking in the workplace and take action to accomplish the following:

a.         Post “No Smoking” signs or the “no smoking” symbol at building entrances and work places.

b.         Remove all ashtrays and smoking paraphernalia from non-smoking areas.

c.         Inform all employees and visitors that smoking is prohibited and subject to penalties.

d.         Ask any employee or visitor who violates the no smoking prohibition to stop, and ask them to leave if it is a public place, food service establishment, or non-smoking area of a casino.

e.         Be prepared to show affirmatively that the employer has made a good faith effort to prohibit smoking by complying with the specific duties described above.

f.          Consider establishing a no-smoking policy, train supervisors on how to enforce the smoking ban, and provide written notice that employees violating the non-smoking ban will be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge.

If you require any assistance, please contact the Masud Labor Law Group, 4449 Fashion Square Blvd., Suite 1, Saginaw, Michigan 48603, (989) 792-4499, www.masudlaborlaw.com

About the Author

Richard R. Vary graduated cum laude from Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he received an American Jurisprudence Book Award in Administrative Law.  While attending law school, he was a member of the Michigan Department of State Police and served on the Department’s Emergency Services Team.  Dick has considerable litigation experience in civil and criminal trials and appeals in both state and federal courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Before joining Masud Labor Law Group, Dick served as an Assistant United States Attorney conducting federal criminal prosecutions, grand jury investigations, and defending civil suits against federal agencies. 

This article is published by the Masud Labor Law Group, and is intended as general information only.  This article is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion, as such advice may only be given when related to specific fact situations.  Questions or comments concerning this article should be directed to the Masud Labor Law Group, 4449 Fashion Square Blvd., Ste. 1, Saginaw, Michigan, 48603, (989) 792-4499.  E-Mail:  mps@mpslaborlawyers.com.  ©Masud Labor Law Group 2010.  All rights reserved.  Reproduction of this article in whole or in part, without express permission from the Masud Labor Law Group is prohibited.

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Comments
  1. Al Valentine says:

    Are there any restrictions for employees smoking outside of the building.

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