In re: Ohio Department of Health, State of Ohio and Ohio Civil Service Employees Association

The State of Ohio modified is policy of limiting smoking to designated areas for its health department employees.  Smoking would be limited to break rooms in all department facilities.  The union filed a grievance challenging the implementation of the no-smoking policy.  An arbitrator ruled that the new policy did not violate collective-bargaining requirements and that if the union believed the state was required to bargain with the union before implementing the policy, it would be under state law — not the collective bargaining agreement.  The arbitrator does not have the authority to rule regarding whether the employer violated state law, as opposed to the collective bargaining agreement.  The arbitrator concluded “that the inhalation of tobacco-smoke polluted indoor air by a nonsmoker . . . is a health hazard.”  Furthermore, he ruled that “I cannot conclude that addiction to smoking tobacco outweighs the ill effects of a smoke filled work environment . . . ”  He determined that the policy is reasonable and denied the grievance.

Local 11, AFSCME-AFL-CIO, 89 LA 937 (1987).