North Carolina Laws on Smoking in the Workplace

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

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What kinds of workplaces are subject to North Carolina workplace smoking laws?

Workplace smoking discrimination laws apply to employers with three or more employees. North Carolina laws that prohibit workplace smoking apply only to restaurants and bars.

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

In North Carolina, smoking is prohibited in the enclosed areas of restaurants and bars. 

What are the requirements for designated smoking areas in North Carolina workplaces?

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

Does North Carolina require employers to make accommodations for nonsmokers?

North Carolina 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 North Carolina?

North Carolina 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 North Carolina, employers are generally free to adopt policies on smoking in the workplace if they choose to.

Does North Carolina provide employees with protection from smoking-related discrimination?

An employer may not discharge, refuse to hire, or discriminate in regard to compensation, benefits, or terms of employment because of an employee's use of lawful products offsite during nonwork hours. Use that affects an employee's job performance or other workers' safety or conflicts with a genuine job requirement is not protected. It is not discrimination to offer insurance with different rates or coverage for smokers if the difference is based on cost to the employer, employees are given written notice of carriers' rates, and the employer makes equal contribution for all employees.

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

If you want to go right to the source and look up North Carolina 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 N.C. Gen. Stat. Sections 95-28.2 and 130A-491 through 496. 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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