Vaping At Work Employment Tribunal Lights A Fuse19th Feb 2015
So now it’s official: you can’t rely on legislation or traditional smoking policies to cover vaping at work.
Britain’s first employment tribunal ruling on smoking e-cigarettes at work went in favour of the employer.
Bosses shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security though. Here’s why not…
The employer (a catering firm) had threatened disciplinary action against a school catering assistant allegedly seen vaping at work in front of pupils.
Sounds cut and dried? Sounds simple enough? It isn’t.
The catering assistant resigned just before a planned disciplinary hearing – and then claimed constructive dismissal.
She lost – the tribunal ruled that the employer had acted correctly.
But here’s the worry. The catering assistant resigned – had she been dismissed, the tribunal said the school’s no-smoking policy could have opened the door to an unfair dismissal claim.
Current legislation on smoking still needs to catch up with e-cigarette technology. The law talks about substances being lit – but e-cigarette users breathe in a heated vapour.
Had the catering assistant not conveniently resigned, this case would have been more tricky and the outcome less certain.
Our advice is simple: employers should review their policies with immediate effect.
You need to be absolute certain that they cover vaping – and that you do not unwittingly fall foul of any other pitfalls in relation to this technology.
For expert advice, contact Coles Miller employment law solicitor Neil Andrews, 01202 673011.