This morning, Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson signed into law an ordinance that will prohibit smoking in most workplaces in Marion County.  The ordinance, which will take effect on March 1, 2006, does not apply in certain excluded cities, such as Beech Grove and Speedway.  This ordinance, which was originally one of the most stringent in the country, was amended several times to delete provisions that would have prohibited smoking in all bars as well as smoking within 50 feet of the entrance to all buildings where smoking is prohibited.
The revised ordinance, however, does prohibit smoking in most workplaces and public areas.  The ordinance defines “Place of Employment” as “any area under the control of a public or private employer that employees normally frequent during the course of employment, including, but not limited to, work areas, employee lounges, restrooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, employee cafeterias, hallways, and vehicles [unless the vehicle is occupied by a single employee].”  The ordinance prohibits smoking in enclosed areas within places of employment and requires that employers notify current employees about this restriction as of the effective date of the ordinance.  In addition, employers must inform prospective employees about the smoking restrictions in their employment application.
The ordinance also prohibits smoking in enclosed public places including lobbies, hallways, and enclosed areas in the common areas of apartment buildings, nursing homes and other multiple-unit residential facilities, as well as in shopping malls and enclosed sports arenas.
The ordinance does not apply to bars (that do not admit customers or hire employees who are less than 18 years old), tobacco bars or bowling alleys.  Also exempt from the smoking ban are family-owned and operated businesses in which all of the employees are related to the owner, but only if the enclosed areas of these businesses are not open to the public.  All of these establishments must post clear and conspicuous signs at every entrance stating: “Warning: This is a Smoking Establishment.”
Although the ordinance does not take effect for several months, it is not too soon for employers to begin planning for the impact that this ordinance will have on their workplaces.
Should you have any questions about the new ordinance, please contact the Ogletree Deakins attorney with whom you normally work or the Client Services Department at 800-603-1252 or via e-mail at

Note: This article was published in the June 2, 2005 issue of the Indiana eAuthority.

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