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New smoke-free law goes in effect April 10.

This article summarizes those provisions of the Smoke-Free Air Act which pertain to office buildings and multiple dwellings. The law goes into effect on April 10th, 1995. Broadly speaking, owners and managers will be responsible for notifying tenants, posting signs and enforcing the law in common areas. Employers are responsible for implementing the law within their space.

Local Law No. 5 prohibits smoking in the common areas of multiple dwellings which contain ten or more units and in office buildings except in a "separate smoking room" or in a private enclosed office with the door closed and occupied by no more than three consenting individuals. The law does not prohibit owners, managers or employers from adopting a policy that completely bans smoking.

Regulations will be promulgated regarding signage and other details. However, they will not be finalized until after the effective date. A copy of the Smoke-Free Air Act is available from REBNY/Board Services for a fee of $2.

Separate Smoking Rooms

Each employer has the option of constructing a single smoking room on each floor that they occupy. The law does not require building owners to construct such a room. The room must be: clearly designated as a smoking area; no larger than 300 square feet; enclosed on all sides by floor-to-ceiling walls, windows or solid floor-to-ceiling partitions; separately vented to an outside area; negatively pressurized to prevent the backstreaming of smoke to smoke-free areas; and in compliance with all applicable fire code requirements.

The law does not grant an individual the right to smoke. Employers are not prohibited from adopting a smoke-free policy nor are they required to construct a separate smoking room. Employers are forbidden to take any retaliatory adverse personnel action against employees or job applicants who seek to exercise their rights under this law.

Employers are required to take the following steps:

* Prohibit smoking in all areas except in those enclosed rooms where smoking is permitted under the law;

* Designate an agent to inform individuals who are smoking in restricted areas that they are in violation of the law;

* Remove ashtrays from all smoke-free areas;

* Post signs where smoking is either permitted or prohibited. The Department of Health is authorized to issue regulations governing the size, style and location of these signs.

By November 1, 1995, employers must adopt, implement, make known, maintain and update a written smoking policy which must contain at least the following provisions;

* The prohibition of smoking in all areas of the workplace except in those specific places where it is permissible under the law;

* The establishment of a dispute resolution procedure under which the health con-cents of employees desiring a smoke-free area shall be given priority;

* The protection from retaliatory adverse personnel action against employees and job applicants who seek to exercise their rights under this law; and

* The establishment of a procedure to provide for the adequate redress of any retaliatory adverse personnel action taken against employees for the exercise of their rights under the law.

* Post the smoking policy in the workplace;

* Within three weeks of adopting a smoking policy and any modification, disseminate the policy to all employees and to new employees when they are hired;

* Supply a written copy of the smoking policy upon request to any employee or prospective employee;

* Provide a copy of the smoking policy to representatives of the city upon their request;

Building Owners/Managers

Building owners and managers are required to meet the following obligations:

* Mail a notice to employers that informs them about the prohibition against smoking in common indoor areas of the building;

* Provide a copy of this written notice to representatives of the city upon their request;

* Designate an agent tO inform individuals who are smoking in common indoor areas that they are in violation of the law. However, this applies only if the building has an employee on duty in the common indoor area and only while the employee is on duty. There is no obligation to hire additional staff;

* "Prominently and conspicuously" post smoking or no smoking signs and any other signs necessary to comply with the law. The size, style and location of the signs will be described in the regulations which will be issued by the Department of Health;

* Remove all ashtrays from smoke-free areas;

* Comply with the provisions of the law pertaining to the construction of any room designated for smoking;

* Comply with the requirements of the law pertaining to "employers" in so far as their own employees are concerned.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Smoke-Free Air Act
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 15, 1995
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