Have you heard the news that UC San Francisco just adopted a complete ban on workplace smoking. According to SF Weekly, the ban prevents employees from smoking on the UCSF campus and even extends into employee breaks that may be taken off campus. The media outlet contacted Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP partner, Jean Hyams, for comment on how the policy may run afoul of California’s labor laws.
When an employer dictates what an employee can do on his or her breaks — especially when those breaks are taken remotely — they cease to be breaks. “And if they’re not giving you breaks, they may be violating wage and hour laws,” says Jean Hyams, an Oakland attorney specializing in employee privacy.
The article -“Butt Out: U.C. San Francisco’s New Anti-Smoking Policy Follows Workers Everywhere” – goes on to point out that a ban on off-the-clock, off-site activities also violates a section of the California Labor Code that prohibits retaliation against employees for lawful off-duty conduct.