Minnesota Laws on Smoking in the Workplace

Information on Minnesota workplace smoking laws, including accommodations for smokers and employer policies on smoking.

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What kinds of workplaces are subject to Minnesota workplace smoking laws?

Workplace smoking laws apply to enclosed indoor workplace.

In Minnesota, in what parts of the workplace is smoking prohibited? Where is smoking permitted?

Smoking is prohibited throughout the entire indoor workplace. Minnesota laws don’t address the specific areas of a workplace where smoking may be permitted. Remember that some workplaces might already be subject to Minnesota or local laws that regulate smoking in public, or smoking in or around certain kinds of businesses.

What are the requirements for designated smoking areas in Minnesota workplaces?

Minnesota does not require employers to create designated smoking areas or provide other accommodations for smokers in the workplace.

Does Minnesota require employers to make accommodations for nonsmokers?

Minnesota doesn’t specifically require employers to provide workplace accommodations for nonsmoker employees.

Are employers required to have a written or oral policy on workplace smoking in Minnesota?

Minnesota laws don’t address employer policies on smoking in the workplace. Local laws regulating smoking -- at the city, county, or town level -- may require employers to have a policy on smoking in some areas. And even though it’s not required by law in Minnesota, employers are generally free to adopt policies on smoking in the workplace if they choose to.

Does Minnesota provide employees with protection from smoking-related discrimination?

An employer cannot discharge, refuse to hire, penalize, discriminate against, or in any manner retaliate against an employee or applicant because the individual exercises any right to a smoke-free environment. Minnesota employers also may not discipline, discharge, or refuse to hire employees for the lawful use of consumable products, including tobacco, during nonwork hours, unless (1) not using tobacco is a bona fide occupational qualification, reasonably related to the activities or duties of the job, or (2) not using tobacco is necessary to avoid a conflict of interest with the employee's job duties. 

Where can I find Minnesota law information on smoking in the workplace?

If you want to go right to the source and look up Minnesota law on workplace smoking laws -- or if you're writing a letter to your employer or employee and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Minn. Stat. Ann. Sections 144.411 to 144.417, 181.938. Workplace smoking information is also available in Nolo's books Your Rights in the Workplace, by Barbara Repa (Nolo) and The Employer's Legal Handbook, by Fred Steingold (Nolo).

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