Employers in Tennessee should be aware that Tennessee's Non-Smoker Protection Act, which takes effect October 1, 2007, contains certain provisions that will impact them.
Employers in Tennessee should be aware that Tennessee's Non-Smoker Protection Act, which takes effect October 1, 2007, contains certain provisions that will impact them. The new law prohibits smoking in all public places in the state of Tennessee. The law defines a public place as an enclosed area to which the public is invited including, among other things, "places of employment."
In addition to prohibiting smoking in places of employment, the Act also requires employers to communicate the prohibition on smoking to all current employees and to all "prospective employees upon their application of employment." Additionally, the Act requires employers that own (or in the terms of the statute "control") the buildings where employees work to clearly and conspicuously post a "No Smoking" sign (or a sign with the No Smoking symbol) at every entrance.
The law permits private businesses with three or fewer employees to permit smoking in an enclosed room not accessible to the general public. Smoke from this room must not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited by the new law.
The law provides that a person who owns or controls a public place where smoking is prohibited who knowingly fails to comply with the provisions of the law shall be subject to a written warning for the first violation in a twelve month period, a civil penalty of $100 for the second violation in a twelve-month period and a $500 penalty for the third or subsequent violation in any twelve-month period.
The law also permits the Tennessee Department of Workforce Development to establish other rules or regulations to effectuate the provisions of the law; however, it has not yet done so. We will provide more information when the Department issues regulations.
If you have any questions regarding the new law or any other labor or employment related issue, please contact the Ford & Harrison attorney with whom you usually work or the author of this Alert, Tim Bland
, or 901-291-1514.