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Indiana Employers Take Note: Statewide smoking ban impacts YOU!

Indiana’s first statewide smoking ban takes effect July 1 After years (five to be exact) of failed attempts to enact a ban on smoking in all workplaces, the bill known as the Smoke Free Air Law recently became the first statewide smoking ban in Indiana. Effective July 1, 2012, the new law prohibits smoking in most Indiana workplaces. Indiana (finally, if you ask me) joins 26 other states, including neighbors Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, in enacting similar statewide bans.

Details of the ban

While many workplaces across the state have prohibited smoking indoors for years, the new ban also prohibits smoking in any area within eight feet of a public entrance to a place of employment and includes restaurants that permit patrons or employ individuals under the age of 21. Also included in the ban are private homes that serve as places of employment for individuals who do not live in the home.

Under the law, smoking continues to be permitted in bars and taverns, tobacco retail shops, cigar and hookah bars, licensed gaming and horse track facilities (including off-track betting facilities), and private clubs that meet certain requirements. The law requires employers to notify employees and prospective employees of the smoking ban, remove ashtrays or other smoking paraphernalia from the place of employment where smoking is prohibited (except those that are for retail sale), and post conspicuous signs at each public entrance that read something to the effect of “State Law Prohibits Smoking Within 8 Feet of this Entrance.”

Also, owners of restaurants affected by the law must post a conspicuous sign at each entrance informing the public that smoking is prohibited inside. In places where smoking continues to be permitted, owners of such premises must post signs warning the public that smoking IS permitted. Thus, even if your business is exempted from the ban, you must take some action. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee or other individual who reports a violation of the Act.

Enforcement and penalties

The law will be primarily enforced by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, with help from state and local health departments, the Division of Fire and Building Safety, and law enforcement officials. Violations of the Act by individuals who choose to smoke in areas where smoking is prohibited commit a Class B infraction. An individual who violates the law numerous times commits a Class A infraction.  Similarly, business owners who fail to comply with the law commit a Class B infraction, or a Class A infraction if the failures are numerous. In Indiana, the penalty for committing an infraction is a fine.

For more information Official information on Indiana’s Smoke Free Air Law can be found here: http://www.in.gov/isdh/tpc/2684.htm, courtesy of the state’s government website. If you have questions about whether the ban might impact your business or need to know what steps you should take to prepare for the ban, please contact the Labor and Employment attorneys at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.

To learn more about Attorney and her practice, visit her profile.

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