Smoking ban lights fire under employees

Company says complete smoking ban on its property was to promote health and productivity
|Canadian Employment Law Today

This instalment of You Make the Call looks at an employer who tried to implement a total smoking ban on its property, much to the consternation of the union.

Invista Canada decided it wanted to completely ban smoking on the premises of its manufacturing facility in Kingston, Ont. The facility included a complex of buildings and large sections of vacant land. While smoking was already banned by law in and around the actual workplace, employees were still allowed to smoke on the property away from the buildings. Invista’s new policy prohibited employees from smoking anywhere on land owned by the company. Because breaks weren’t long enough for employees to leave the large property, it essentially prevented them from smoking during working hours.

Invista said the motivation for the ban was related to health and safety and economic concerns. It found evidence of smoking in areas of the facility where it was not allowed and potentially dangerous. Keeping tobacco products off the premises completely would help stop that. The employer also felt preventing employees from smoking at work would make them smoke less and possibly quit, which would lead to healthier and more productive employees.