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Indiana Passes Statewide Smoking Ban

Indiana recently enacted a statewide smoking ban, which goes into effect July 1, 2012.  If you’re not sure about your state’s requirements, now is the time to find out; 39 other states have smoking bans.  If you are interested in the specifics of Indiana’s law, read on.

The ban is aimed at public places, workplaces, and government vehicles, including outdoor areas within 8 feet of an entrance to the establishment.  “Public places” includes any enclosed area where the public may go.  There are exceptions for bars, casinos, horse racing tracks, and similar establishments.

The law places several obligations on businesses where smoking is prohibited:

  • Post conspicuous signs at each public entrance that say, “State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of this Entrance” or similar language;
  • Post conspicuous signs (the law does not say where or how many) that say, “Smoking is Prohibited by State Law” or similar language;
  • Ask individuals who are smoking in an area covered by the law to refrain from smoking and if they do not comply, “cause [them] to be removed” (such as by calling the police);
  • Inform all employees that smoking is not allowed; and
  • Remove ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia.

In addition, a business may not retaliate against individuals for actions taken in accordance with the law, including reporting violations.

If the establishment is one of the exceptions where smoking is allowed, such as a bar, conspicuous signs must be posted that say, “WARNING: Smoking Is Allowed In This Establishment” or similar language.  Smoking is not allowed in parts of these establishments where minors are permitted.

Failing to comply with any of these requirements constitutes an infraction.  Fines can be steep.  The first three infractions carry penalties up to $1,000 each.  Additional violations can cost up to $10,000.

Employers should understand clearly: nothing in this law requires or permits discrimination against employees who smoke outside of work.  A separate Indiana state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of tobacco use outside the course of employment.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.