Even in light of the nationwide bans around the country preventing smokers from lighting up in public, there are still some work environments which permit employees or patrons to openly smoke. However, along with the freedom there may also be the concern about the issues secondhand smoke, OSHA requires that employers provide safe working conditions that are not going to bring about physical harm to employees. Since secondhand smoke has been shown to be a danger to human health, it stands to reason there would be a tougher stance on smoking in the workplace.
A recent lawsuit brought against Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans, LA pinpoints exactly the legal concerns employers may face when smoking is allowed. A former casino dealer died of cancer and his family believes it was due to the allowance of smoking in the casino which resulted in the company’s failure to provide employees with a safe workplace.
Casinos are just one example of workplaces that still permit smoking which may jeopardize the safety of workers exposed to the smoke. There are other industries which still permit employee or customer smoking prompting the potential for additional lawsuits down the line. There are also other health concerns that are related to secondhand smoke exposure to employees that have allergies and other medical conditions complicated by smoke inhalation, even if they are not lighting cigarettes themselves.
Currently, there is no decision yet made in the Harrah’s case but it expected that the case may evolve into a class action suit which may involve upwards of 1,000 current and past employees of the casino giant.
If you have concerns about workers compensation injuries received from working in a smoking-permitted environment, contact our office toll free at 855-614-4351 or via our online contact form to schedule a free evaluation.