On July 1, 2012, Indiana's new smoking ban law takes effect. The law will prohibit smoking within and immediately outside the public entrances to most workplaces. The law carries civil law infraction penalties for violations (like minor traffic law violations). Exempted from the sweeping provisions of the law in certain respects are gaming facilities; cigar and hookah bars and tobacco stores; fraternal, social and veterans' clubs; bars and taverns; cigar manufacturing facilities; and residential facilities. All other businesses in the state with employees will be subject to the new law, which contains the following requirements and penalties.
- It prohibits smoking in all enclosed areas of places of employment and within 8 feet of any public entrance to your workplace. You may already have a ban prohibiting smoking anywhere on your property that goes further than these requirements, enclosed or otherwise.
- The ban applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes and "any other lighted tobacco smoking equipment."
- You must inform employees and prospective employees of the smoking prohibition in your workplace. This can be done for employment candidates by posting the policy in your lobby or other places where application forms are distributed or completed and/or including the prohibition on your employment application form, etc. For employees, you can simply post it where other employee postings are maintained or include it in your policy manual or employee handbook.
- You must remove ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia (e.g., lighters, cigar cutters, etc.) from areas where smoking is prohibited by the statute.
- You must post a conspicuous sign at each public entrance to your facility that says, "State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 feet of this Entrance," or contains similar language.
- The law creates yet another exception to the at-will doctrine in Indiana. You cannot discharge, refuse to hire or in any matter retaliate against anyone who reports a violation of this law or exercises any right or satisfies any obligation under the new law. Assume for now that "reporting" includes both internal (to you) or external (e.g., the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, local health department, division of fire and building safety, and local law enforcement officers).
- Violations of the law by employers and employees are considered Class B and Class A civil law infractions, depending on the number of violations.
While this is the first statewide smoking ban in Indiana, you should also be mindful of local ordinances that may be broader than the state law. For example, ordinances in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne apply to bars and taverns, and Evansville's smoking ban applies to bars, taverns or private clubs. Each of these ordinances also provide different requirements and penalties.
If you would like a review of your current no-smoking policies to ensure that they comport with the new law; assistance in creating new policies for applicants and employees as required by the statute; or have any other questions concerning the application and enforcement of the new smoking ban law in your business, please contact your Bose McKinney & Evans labor and employment law attorney.