Employees can snuff out smoking

Aug 1, 2006 1:54 AM

It might not be a good bet if you want to keep your job, but casino employees can demand a smoke-free workplace, because of a loophole in Colorado’s no smoking ban.

The legislators who wrote the law thought they had exempted casinos.

But the law states: "Each such employer shall provide a smoke-free work area for each employee requesting not to have to breathe environmental tobacco smoke. Every employee shall have a right to work in an area free of environmental tobacco smoke."

Rep. Jim Sullivan, who led the fight to exempt casinos, said he had no clue that section of the law existed.

"Wow, what do you know?" he said. "We’re not as smart as we think we are."

Stephanie Steinberg, chair of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado, said most workers know their rights, but few will probably demand a smoke-free work place. "They’re afraid of being told to go find another job," she said.

Mike Vautrin, general manager of Isle of Capri and Colorado Station casinos in Black Hawk, said none of his 1,100 employees had asked for a smoke-free area.

The House sponsor of the law, Mikey May, said he expects the Legislature to do away with the casino exemption next year anyway.