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New No Smoking Law in Illinois Exposes Employers to Liability.

As of January 1, 2008, Illinois employers could face fines if they fail to prevent their employees from smoking in the workplace. Specifically, the “Smoke Free Illinois Act” requires, among other things, employers to prohibit any person from smoking in any place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance to a place of employment. Further, the Act requires employers to clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbols in the workplace, post signs at every entrance to the workplace stating that smoking is prohibited, and remove all ashtrays from the workplace. The Act prohibits retaliation against employees who report a violation of the Act or participate in an investigation of a violation of the Act. While the Act does not require employers to provide an outdoor smoking shelter for employees, it does require existing shelters and ashtrays to be moved in accordance with the 15 foot rule. There are several exemptions outlined in the Act.
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