Is it discrimination to allow union employees to smoke and not pay a surcharge, but non union employees pay $150.00 a month?

Asked about 1 year ago - Lawnside, NJ

Our company is charging 150.00 a month surcharge for non union smokers and the union people are not being charged. It will cost non-union people $150.00 a month to stand in the designated smoking area next to a union person who is not paying a surcharge

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

    While it is discrimination in that the employer is treating one group of employees differently from another group, there is no legal protection for smokers such as there is for people based on sex, race, etc. This means the employer is free to do what it wants with respect to smoking policies.

    Most likely, the union negotiated with the employer so that union employees are not subject to this surcharge. This is legal, just as it is legal for the union to negotiate better medical coverage, higher wages, or whatever.

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more

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