The Catholic University of America

Summary of District of Columbia Laws

Employment

"D.C. Smoking Restriction Act of 1979 Amendment Act of 1987" and

"Smoking Regulations Amendment Act of 1990"

D.C. Code Ann. § 7-1703

The Law: While noting that smoking in certain areas presents a danger to health and is an inconvenience and discomfort to some persons, the purpose of the Act is to "protect the health, comfort, and environment by prohibiting smoking in certain facilities, vehicles, and restaurants open to or used by the general public." See D.C. Code Ann. § 7-1701. Generally, smoking is prohibited in educational facilities, except approved smoking lounges or specific smoking areas.

Employer's Smoking Policy: All employers must adopt a policy consistent with the Act and notify the employees both orally and in writing. The smoking policy applies to all employees and others in the workplace, including visitors. The employer may prohibit smoking and/or allow it only in designated areas. When the employer allows smoking in designated areas, they must also provide floor to ceiling partitions and tight fitting doors to separate them from non-smoking areas. However, no smoking area may be in a portion of an area where the Fire Chief has prohibited smoking.

Prohibition of Employment Discrimination: An employer may not refuse to hire or discharge an employee, nor may one discriminate in regards to compensation or privileges on the basis that the applicant or employee is a tobacco user . See D.C. Code Ann. § 7-1703.3.

Posting: The employer must post the notice of the policy in the same place where the worker's compensation notice or other similar employee notices are located.

If the employer chooses to prohibit smoking, they must conspicuously post a sign at the entrance to each building or on the interior of a non-smoking area and which is visible to the public reading: "No smoking under penalty of law. Maximum criminal fine for a violation of the Smoking Restriction Act is three hundred dollars ($300)."

If smoking is designated to certain areas, the sign must read: "No smoking except in smoking areas. Maximum criminal fine for a violation of the Smoking Restriction Act is three hundred dollars ($300)."

If the employer restricts smoking to designated areas, the employer must post signs in the designated area a sign that states: "Smoking in accordance with employer's smoking policy only. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may cause fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight in pregnant women. Maximum criminal fine for a violation of the Smoking Restriction Act is three hundred dollars ($300)."

 

updated 6/11/07 (to update code & link to code) by APK
Revised NTC 11-7-07
DC code updated 2/25/08 RAB
links updated 6/6/08 rab
Page checked August 3rd, 2010, FJL.