Besides all of these minimum wage increases passed by voters during this November’s midterm elections, there are some other laws passed by voters that will directly or indirectly affect employers. One such law is the smoking ban passed by Ohio voters in November.
The so-called Issue 5, or the Smoke Free Workplace Act, officially kicks in 30 days after the November election, so that gives employers and their smoking employees time to get used to the changes. It might even take a little bit longer than that for employers and the state officials to figure out to enforce these laws, as smokers are apt to try to circumvent them to get in their “smoke breaks” during their work day.
Voters in Ohio, though, clearly want smoke free work sites. They even had their choice on the ballot of the exact opposite, which would be a law that allows employees to still smoke at their work site. This law—the so called Issue 4—was supposedly funded by the tobacco companies themselves, acting on behalf of the thousands of people in Ohio who religiously buy and smoke their products every day.
But Ohio voters took note of the fourteen other states in the Union that have similar anti-smoking or smoke-free laws, which are set to protect employees from the hazardous effects of second hand smoke. The other states that have already passed similar laws include California, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, Montana, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Employers can wonder whether it is the voters’ or the state’s right to invade the privacy of their workers. But for the time being this seems to be the trend, and all scientific evidence—that is not put out by scientists paid by the cigarette companies—suggests that second hand smoke is dangerous. So in effect, the Ohio laws and others like it are saving you and other employers money down the road on health care and disability.