Smoking has become a huge issue for many employers and employees over the last decade. I have noticed that many restaurants and bars in some states no longer allow public smoking. Others are outlawed within their cities from allowing smoking in these public places. Recently Rhode Island updated their no smoking laws for private employers.
Under the terms of the Rhode Island No Smoking Law, smoking is prohibited in the workplace. A poster must be made visible within the workplace so that all employees can see that smoking is strictly prohibited. The Bill was made affective on March 1, 2005 by the General Assembly of Rhode Island. Included in the Bill are not only private offices, but also all public places where people may linger. This Bill is in amendment to the Public Health and Workplace Safety Law that has been in place to protect workers from job-related risks.
If an employee or smoker is found to be smoking in a public place or in the workplace, then they must pay fines. The first violation is $250. The second violation is $500. The third violation is $1,000.
Under the terms of the new law, no smoking posters are to be placed at every entrance where the smoking has been deemed illegal. The new law must also be communicated to employees and prospective employees upon their application for employment. These “No Smoking” posters are either stand along posters or they can be part of the Public Health and Workplace Safety poster, depending on the employer’s preference. The Rhode Island Complete Labor Law poster does currently reflect the no-smoking law.
If an employee or smoker wishes to take the issue to court after receiving a fine, then he or she would benefit from hiring an attorney and filing with the state court. However, due to the strict nature of the new law, there have not yet been instances where a smoker has succeeded in winning back “smoker’s rights.”