Chewing tobacco in the workplace

Can an employer make a rule banning chewing tobacco in the employer's building(s)? We have several employees who chew, and they often use a soda can for disposal. We've had to deal with gooey, disgusting messes when the pop cans are tossed into the recycling bin, and management views this as a health issue. If we cannot forbid chewing on the premises, can we require these individuals to bring in a different type of receptacle that they remove from their area each day after work?


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I don't believe there is any "right" to chew. As an employer you can determine which activities enhance your business and encourage those, and eliminate those activities that detract.

    Most places are now "smoke" free...I can't see why "tobacco" free should be different.

    If you are going to change your policy notify your staff by posting signs and maybe sending internal email...include the disciplinary actions that will be taken for failure to adhere to the policy. If you're in a position to, maybe even offer some cessation assistance. Our Dept. of Health runs one that makes it pretty easy.

    Good luck!
  • >Can an employer make a rule banning chewing
    >tobacco in the employer's building(s)?

    Damn skippy

    PS That means yes.

  • Yesterday I reposted on all boards a reminder notice with a copy of the relevant page from our employee handbook. Subject: Tobacco Free Workplace. I had complaints that several males and one female (equal opportunity workplace) were grossing others out by spitting into the handwash basins and water fountains (they call them something else in the north, bubblers I think).

    Anyway, yes, it is the employer's right to forbid tobacco of any and every sort on it's property.
  • And the handwash basins are called "birdbaths".
  • Someone told me we're required to install and maintain centrally located spittoons for the workplace in order to comply with a federal statute, the Professional Tobacco Users Initiative, or PTUI (pronounced "ptooey"). 8-}
  • We had been operating under the policy that if employees disposed of their recepticles directly in the outside dumpster and there weren't any spills, it was more or less OK. However, our president thought it had been banned all along; therefore, we posted a policy banning it. Honestly, I'm pretty sure it's just underground now. I haven't checked any mouths for dips yet, but I'm pretty sure I'd find some.
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