(c) 2010-2024 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Unions Sue New Jersey to Close Smoking Loophole

The United Auto Workers (UAW) and Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) have filed a lawsuit against New Jersey to eliminate a controversial exemption in the Smoke-Free Air Act. This exemption allows continued smoking in Atlantic City casinos, exposing tens of thousands of workers to secondhand smoke and its associated health risks.

The Loophole and its Health Risks

New Jersey's Smoke-Free Air Act generally prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces and public places. However, casinos were granted an exemption, allowing designated smoking sections. This loophole leaves casino workers, from dealers to wait staff and custodians, vulnerable to secondhand smoke exposure for their entire shifts. Secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen linked to various health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.

Protecting Workers' Health

The UAW and CEASE argue that the current law unfairly discriminates against casino workers, denying them the same smoke-free workplace protections afforded to most other New Jersey employees. The lawsuit aims to:

  • Eliminate the casino smoking loophole in the Smoke-Free Air Act.
  • Extend comprehensive smoke-free protections to all casino workers.
  • Improve public health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in casinos.

Potential Impact

If successful, the lawsuit could significantly improve working conditions for Atlantic City casino employees. By eliminating designated smoking sections, workers would no longer be subjected to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. This could lead to:

  • Reduced risk of developing smoking-related illnesses among casino workers.
  • Improved overall health and well-being of casino employees.
  • A safer and healthier work environment for all casino staff.

Workers' compensation benefits have been awarded in New Jersey to casino workers who suffered an occupational illness as a result of secondhand smoke. 

The Road Ahead

The lawsuit against New Jersey is the latest development in the fight for smoke-free workplaces. The outcome will be closely watched by public health advocates, casino workers, and the gambling industry. A ruling favoring the UAW and CEASE could set a precedent for other states with similar casino smoking exemptions.

In conclusion, the UAW and CEASE lawsuit represents a significant step towards protecting the health of casino workers in New Jersey. They aim to create a safer and healthier work environment for all casino employees by eliminating the smoking loophole.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., Unions Sue New Jersey to Close Smoking Loophole, (04/06/2024)



*Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon Gelman  1.973.696.7900 
 has represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational illnesses and diseases.

Blog: Workers' Compensation

LinkedIn: JonGelman

LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters

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© 2024 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

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