Smoke-Free Workplace Handbook Statement: Rhode Island

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include This Statement

Rhode Island employers that have enclosed workplace areas should include this statement in their handbook. Rhode Island law requires employers to notify current and prospective employees of the company's smoking policy.

Casinos may provide designated smoking and nonsmoking gaming rooms. Hotels and motels may designate up to fifty percent of the rooms as smoking rooms. Other exceptions to the law include:

  • Private residences, unless used for childcare, residential care or similar purposes;
  • Retail tobacco stores (if smoke is contained to smoking areas);
  • Designated smoking bars;
  • Private and semiprivate rooms or designated areas in assisted living residences and nursing facilities; and
  • Outdoor places of employment.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Smoke-Free Workplace

The Company prohibits smoking in the workplace and in company-owned vehicles occupied by more than one person.

Employees wishing to smoke may do so during scheduled work breaks outside Company facilities where smoke does not migrate back into the workplace.

Employees who observe other individuals smoking in the workplace in violation of this policy have a right to object and should report the violation to their supervisor or another member of management [or insert name of appropriate company representative or department].  Employees will not be disciplined or retaliated against for reporting smoking that violates Rhode Island law or this policy.

Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

Guidance for Employers

  • Under Rhode Island law, smoking is prohibited in enclosed facilities (e.g., employee lunch rooms, restrooms, hallways) within places of employment, including company-owned vehicles used by more than one person.
  • Current and prospective employees must be notified of the smoking policy.
  • Employers may provide an outdoor smoking area, but must ensure that the area is physically separated from the enclosed workspace so as to prevent the migration of any smoke into the workplace.
  • Download the Rhode Island Workplace Smoking poster and post at every entrance in a conspicuous manner.
  • No Smoking signs must include the statement, "It is Illegal to Smoke in the Establishment. To report a violation call Rhode Island Department of Health: 410-222-3293."
  • Employers may not terminate or retaliate against an employee due to the employee reporting a violation or otherwise exercising his or her rights under the law. In addition, although Rhode Island law does regulate smoking in workplaces, employers may not require employees to refrain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his or her employment.

Additional Resources

Smoke-Free Workplace Handbook Statement

Electronic Cigarette Laws by State