Other Work Issues

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Question: My company instituted a tobacco free workplace and we need to go off company property to smoke or vape. Now they are sending security telling us we cannot smoke in front of other businesses on public property and on public reserve land by putting up extreme fire danger signs year round. Can they enforce where we smoke or vape when off of company grounds?

Answer: 36-601.01. Smoke-free Arizona act

(Caution: 1998 Prop. 105 applies.)


B. Smoking is prohibited in all public places and places of employment within the state of Arizona, except the following:

1. Private residences, except when used as a licensed child care, adult day care, or health care facility.

2. Hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms; provided, however, that not more than fifty percent of rooms rented to guests in a hotel or motel are so designated.

3. Retail tobacco stores that are physically separated so that smoke from retail tobacco stores does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the provisions of this section.

4. Veterans and fraternal clubs when they are not open to the general public.

5. Smoking when associated with a religious ceremony practiced pursuant to the American Indian religious freedom act of 1978.

6. Outdoor patios so long as tobacco smoke does not enter areas where smoking is prohibited through entrances, windows, ventilation systems, or other means.

7. A theatrical performance upon a stage or in the course of a film or television production if the smoking is part of the performance or production.

C. The prohibition on smoking in places of employment shall be communicated to all existing employees by the effective date of this section and to all prospective employees upon their application for employment.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an owner, operator, manager, or other person or entity in control of an establishment, facility, or outdoor area may declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.

E. Posting of signs and ashtray removal.

1. "No smoking" signs or the international "no smoking" symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) shall be clearly and conspicuously posted by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of that place identifying where smoking is prohibited by this section and where complaints regarding violations may be registered.

2. Every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this section shall have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited.

3. All ashtrays shall be removed from any area where smoking is prohibited by this section by the owner, operator, manager, or other person having control of the area.

F. No employer may discharge or retaliate against an employee because that employee exercises any rights afforded by this section or reports or attempts to prosecute a violation of this section.

G. The law shall be implemented and enforced by the department of health services as follows:

1. The department shall design and implement a program, including the establishment of an internet website, to educate the public regarding the provisions of this law.

2. The department shall inform persons who own, manage, operate or otherwise control a public place or place of employment of the requirements of this law and how to comply with its provisions including making information available and providing a toll-free telephone number and e-mail address to be used exclusively for this purpose.

3. Any member of the public may report a violation of this law to the department. The department shall accept oral and written reports of violation and establish an e-mail address(es) and toll-free telephone number(s) to be used exclusively for the purpose of reporting violations. A person shall not be required to disclose the person's identity when reporting a violation.

4. If the department has reason to believe a violation of this law exists, the department may enter upon and into any public place or place of employment for purposes of determining compliance with this law. However, the department may inspect public places where food or alcohol is served at any time to determine compliance with this law.

5. If the department determines that a violation of this law exists at a public place or place of employment, the department shall issue a notice of violation to the person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls the public place or place of employment. The notice shall include the nature of each violation, date and time each violation occurred, and department contact person.

6. The department shall impose a civil penalty on the person in an amount of not less than $100, but not more than $500 for each violation. In considering whether to impose a fine and the amount of the fine, the department may consider whether the person has been cited previously and what efforts the person has taken to prevent or cure the violation including reporting the violation or taking action under subsection J. Each day that a violation occurs constitutes a separate violation. The director may issue a notice that includes the proposed amount of the civil penalty assessment. A person may appeal the assessment of a civil penalty by requesting a hearing. If a person requests a hearing to appeal an assessment, the director shall not take further action to enforce and collect the assessment until the hearing process is complete. The director shall impose a civil penalty only for those days on which the violation has been documented by the department.

7. If a civil penalty imposed by this section is not paid, the attorney general or a county attorney shall file an action to collect the civil penalty in a justice court or the superior court in the county in which the violation occurred.

8. The department may apply for injunctive relief to enforce these provisions in the superior court in the county in which the violation occurred. The court may impose appropriate injunctive relief and impose a penalty of not less than $100 but not more than $500 for each violation. Each day that a violation occurs constitutes a separate violation. If the superior court finds the violations are willful or evidence a pattern of noncompliance, the court may impose a fine up to $5000 per violation.

9. The department may contract with a third party to determine compliance with this law.

10. The department may delegate to a state agency or political subdivision of this state any functions, powers or duties under this law.

11. The director of the department may promulgate rules for the implementation and enforcement of this law. The department is exempt from the rulemaking procedures in A.R.S. § title 41, chapter 6 except the department shall publish draft rules and thereafter take public input including hold at least two public hearings prior to implementing the rules. This exemption expires May 1, 2007.

H. Beginning on June 1, 2008 and every other June 1 thereafter, the director of the Arizona department of health services shall issue a report analyzing its activities to enforce this law, including the activities of all of the state agencies or political subdivisions to whom the department has delegated responsibility under this law.

I. An owner, manager, operator or employee of place regulated by this law shall inform any person who is smoking in violation of this law that smoking is illegal and request that the illegal smoking stop immediately.

J. This law does not create any new private right of action nor does it extinguish any existing common law causes of action.

K. A person who smokes where smoking is prohibited is guilty of a petty offense with a fine of not less than fifty dollars and not more than three hundred dollars.

QUESTIONS

  • My company instituted a tobacco free workplace and we need to go off company property to smoke or vape. Now they are sending security telling us we cannot smoke in front of other businesses on public property and on public reserve land by putting up extreme fire danger signs year round. Can they enforce where we smoke or vape when off of company grounds?

STORIES

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