Can I Prohibit My Employees From Smoking While Working?
Question: Can you ask a prospective employee during an interview if they are a “Smoker?” During an annual review can you discuss their smoke breaks and the smell on their clothes when they enter a customer’s home? We had a customer complain and asked not to have that technician back.
Answer: Smoking has become less and less acceptable, so consider adopting a policy for employees and also informing applicants that smoking on company or customer premises and in company vehicles is prohibited. You can tell the employee who smokes that you expect he will not so reek of cigarette smoke as to draw customer complaints. Further, employers are not required to give smoking breaks — and if employees are on break when they should be working, then you have every right to take corrective action.
This response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, nor is this column a substitute for formal legal assistance. For help with particular legal needs, members are invited to consult with Brooke Duncan III of Adams and Reese LLP. Mr. Duncan can be reached at 504-585-0220 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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