The Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act takes effect on September 11, 2008. Several features of the act pertain to workplaces.
The act prohibits individuals from smoking in a "public place," which includes workplaces. "Workplace" is defined as "an indoor area serving as a place of employment, occupation, business, trade, etc." Employers are free to either permit or prohibit smoking in outdoor work areas.
The act includes certain exemptions. For example, it does not apply in the city of Philadelphia, which has its own laws addressing smoking. Other exemptions include:
- Designated quarters within lodging establishments that are available for rent to guests. Such quarters must account for not more than 25 percent of the total number of lodging units.
- Designated quarters within full-service truck stops.
- Tobacco shops.
- The workplace of a manufacturer of tobacco-related products.
- A smoking room in a facility that provides day treatment programs.
- Long-term care facilities.
- Separate enclosed rooms in a residential adult care facility.
- Private clubs, with some exceptions.
- Cigar bars.
- Drinking establishments.
- Gaming floors at a licensed facility.
- Designated outdoor smoking areas within the confines of a sports or recreational facility, theater or performance establishment.
In many of these situations, however, certain requirements and documentation must be met to qualify for exempt status.
The act requires employers to post a "No Smoking" sign in areas where smoking is forbidden under the act. Additionally, employers must post a "Smoking Permitted" sign at the entrance of every public place where smoking is allowed.
The act provides civil and criminal penalties for persons who smoke in public places where smoking is prohibited as well as for employers who permit violations of this act. Penalties range from $250 to $1,000. Additionally, the act provides that an employer cannot refuse to hire, discharge or retaliate against an employee because the individual "exercises a right to a smoke-free environment required under this act." However, the act does not specify a remedy for a violation of this provision.
Employers should review their policies to ensure they are in compliance with the act when it takes effect in September 2008.