Croner, part of the global information services business, Wolters Kluwer, says that it has seen a ‘substantial’ rise in calls to its advice lines from UK employers concerned about the use of e-cigarettes at work, according to a press note issued through PRNewswire.
“From a legal perspective as e-cigarettes are not lit then there is no reason why they cannot be used within the workplace,” said Basil Long, senior legal adviser at Croner. “This may be acceptable for some employers, but the ones calling our advisory service are concerned about the use of e-cigarettes and wonder if they can either discipline an employee for ‘smoking’ at work or ban it altogether.
“The majority of workplace smoking policies do not specifically define smoking, and in the absence of any specific definition, a court of law would defer to the Health Act 2006 which define smoking as ‘lit tobacco or anything lit that contains tobacco, or of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked’. As a result it would not be safe to rely on such a policy to discipline employees using e-cigarettes in the workplace. Therefore employers wishing to ban the use of e-cigarettes will need to amend their policy.
“A workplace smoking policy can normally be adapted very easily to extend the definition of smoking to include the use of e-cigarettes, however as with any other changes to employment policies, care needs to be taken to ensure the change is effective and not challenged by employees.”
Category: Breaking News