In Insley v Accent Catering, a school catering assistant claimed she was constructively dismissed. The headteacher of the school where she was working complained to its catering contractor that Ms Insley had been smoking in front of pupils.
The employer arranged a disciplinary hearing but she resigned just beforehand, so the tribunal dismissed the claim on the grounds that it could not decide if the action had been gross misconduct.
The tribunal did indicate that the school’s smoking policy would have been relevant to an unfair dismissal case – in this case, the school prohibited smoking on the premises, but not using an e-cigarette, and she could have won the claim on this basis.
Outdoor fitness providers beware, if you do not have a smoking policy (which also covers vaping and e-cigarettes) you may not be able to stop your employees and/or contractors from smoking within the vicinity/sight of your clients.
Without a smoking policy, for which employees/contractors have had reasonable access to, organisations will be unlikely to force them to stop smoking in front of clients.
People Management (2015) Legal Lowdown: Do You Have A Vaping Policy? People Management. March 2015, pp.15.