HR Management & Compliance

Stricter workplace smoking law taking effect in California

by Jim Brown
Sedgwick LLP

A new law expanding smoking restrictions in California workplaces is set to take effect on January 1.

State law previously restricted smoking in places of employment based on “enclosed space” areas. In addition to requiring signage, California Labor Code Section 6404.5 provided a list of exceptions or exemptions from the definition of “place of employment.”

The new law, Assembly Bill 7, amends Labor Code Section 6404.5 to, among other things, eliminate the specified exemptions from “place of employment” for hotel lobby and bar areas, taverns, banquet rooms, warehouse facilities, and employee break rooms. Before Assembly Bill 7, local jurisdictions could enact rules prohibiting smoking in those areas, but no statewide law required such a ban.

The new law also expands the ban on smoking to include certain owner-operated businesses that weren’t previously covered.

For more information on the new smoking law, see the June 13, 2016, issue of California Employment Law Letter.

Jim Brown is a member of California Employment Law Letter’s Advisory Board of Contributors and a partner at Sedgwick LLP. He can be reached at

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