In re: Norris Plumbing Fixtures and United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers

In October 1993, the company announced a total prohibition against smoking on all company property, inside and outdoors, at all of its plants to become effective on January 1, 1994.  The union filed a grievance four days after the policy took effect.  An arbitrator ruled that “the Company has the absolute right to prohibit smoking on its property and in those areas it controls either through ownership or lease.”  The arbitrator noted that this policy applies outdoors as well: “I disagree with those Arbitrators who conclude that such a prohibition would be arbitrary and capricious.  It is universally acknowledged that not only is smoking of any form detrimental to one’s health but indeed secondary smoke is detrimental to those around it.  While outside smoke presumably dissipates, the fact of the matter is there is ample authority published by all appropriate governmental agencies both Federal and State, as well as all relevant medical literature, that smoking has a direct detrimental impact on the health of people which from an Employer’s point of view necessarily correspond to potential increases in Workmen’s Compensation costs and health insurance costs by the employment of smokers.”

104 LA 174 (1995).