Q & A Session – Class Action Lawsuit Pending Against Department of Justice?


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Is there a class action lawsuit pending against the Department of Justice for exposure to second-hand smoke?  Second-hand smoke is dangerous, and I have been exposed to it for many years.  The Department has moved the smoking which was nearest to me, but it is still too close, and non-smokers must inhale tobacco smoke.  However, if I complain, I am harassed.  What should I do?


Using internet research tools, I have searched for, but found no evidence of, such a class action lawsuit pending against the Department of Justice.

The executive branch, in 41 CFR § 102-74.315 et seq., established a smoke-free environment for Federal facilities by prohibiting the smoking of tobacco products in all interior space owned, rented, or leased by the executive branch of the Federal Government.

However, some smoking is allowed.  Outdoors, smoking is prohibited in courtyards and within twenty-five (25) feet of doorways and vents, but people may smoke in other outdoors areas.  These rules do not apply to individuals living in federal facilities, to buildings which are leased or rented in their entirety to non-Federal entities, or to areas which an Agency head has designated as a smoking area in writing.

Agency heads are responsible for enforcing the smoking rules.  If these rules are being violated, you should contact the Agency head’s office for corrective action and ask that compliant smoking areas be clearly designated with signs.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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