Washington Laws on Smoking in the Workplace

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

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

Workplace smoking laws apply to any enclosed workplace. Exceptions include outdoor structures, gazebos, and lean-tos provided for smokers that are at least 25 feet from entrances and exits.

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

Smoking is prohibited in any area where employees are required to pass through or within 25 feet of an entrance or exit. Washington laws don’t address the specific areas of a workplace where smoking may be permitted. Remember that some workplaces might already be subject to Washington 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 Washington workplaces?

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

Does Washington require employers to make accommodations for nonsmokers?

Washington 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 Washington?

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

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

Washington does not have a law protecting smokers from discrimination, nor does it have a law protecting employees from discipline or discharge based on their off-duty conduct generally.

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

If you want to go right to the source and look up Washington 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 Wash. Rev. Code Sections 70.160.011 to 70.160.900. 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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