Smoking at work: Behind the bike sheds
Most people will be aware of the ban on smoking in Public Houses from 1 July 2007 which in fact applies to all public places including the workplace.
Any place accessible by the public or used as a place of work by more than one person will have to be smoke free if enclosed or substantially enclosed.
Unfortunately the designated smoker’s corner will also become unlawful if it is enclosed or substantially enclosed (with some limited exceptions). Consent from all staff to a smoking area will not get around the legislation.
The ban will also extend to company vehicles, except for those driving a convertible. Sales representatives with a smoking line manager may sense an opportunity to upgrade their company car!
Whilst the onus will be on the employer to enforce, with substantial fines for failing to enforce the ban and displaying the appropriate signs, an employee risks a fixed penalty fine of £50 (£200 if convicted at Court).
In an employment law context the employee will need to be aware of the risk of serious disciplinary action if caught smoking in a prohibited area. Employees will be breaking the law in such circumstances and this may justify a summary dismissal by the employer.
So it’s back to behind the bike sheds for smokers – just make sure they are not enclosed.
For further information about this advice or any other employment law related topic, please contact Patrick Nelson on 01785 211411.
Published on web site – July 2007
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)