We featured the English smoking ban in our May issue. Since then an unfair dismissal decision has been reported in which the Scottish smoking ban (introduced back in 2006) was part of the factual background. In the end the employee, who was caught smoking in the locker room, was fairly dismissed even though it was his first offence. He was smoking just inside an open fire door. Had he been a foot the other side of the door, he would not have been in breach of the company's policy and could not have been fairly dismissed.
This case is an illustration of how an employment tribunal can support a tough disciplinary stance, even though many would have regarded the sanction imposed as harsh. The factory dealt with highly inflammable materials and had always been strict about smoking. It used the introduction of the Scottish ban to reinforce its message with notices and presentations. Had the company not made its smoking ban completely clear, and spelled out the likely consequences of breaching it, it would probably have lost the case.
For a link to the May issue of e-Post click here.