Smoking in the Workplace

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Under Tennessee's Non-Smoker Protection Act, T.C.A. § 39-17-1801 et seq., smoking, which includes the use of vapor products, is prohibited in any enclosed area under the control of a public (or private) employer that employees normally frequent during the course of employment.  The act requires "No Smoking" signs or the international "No Smoking" symbol be clearly and conspicuously posted at every entrance to every place of employment where smoking is prohibited by the act by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of that place.  A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited is subject to a fifty-dollar ($50) fine. 

The Non-Smoker Protection Act does not apply to outdoor areas, as long as smoke from those areas does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited.  T.C.A. § 39-17-1804.  Employees who smoke may be required to do so only at specified times and in specified places that are not in violation of the law.

State law protects employees who use tobacco products from being discharged from employment solely because they use tobacco products, as long as the employee complies with all of the employer’s policies regarding the use of tobacco products during working hours. T.C.A. § 50-1-304. This law does not, however, prohibit an employer from refusing to hire someone who uses tobacco products.