Is the employer entitled to prohibit using of “e-cigarettes”?
Author: Go¶cie

This entry was authored by Micha³ Balicki.

Due to high popularity of the electronic cigarette, employers often ask this question. This question is additionally justified as “e-cigarettes” according to Polish law are not regarded as regular cigarettes. Thus the employer is not entitled to prohibit usage of “e-cigarettes” by making the prohibition equal with the one on regular cigarettes. This is the consequence of fact that “e-cigarettes” are not covered by the Act dated 9 November 1995 on Protection of Health from the Effects of Use of Tobacco and Tobacco Products (hereinafter called the “Act”).  The Act, in particular Article 5(4) prohibiting smoking tobacco products in work premises will not be applicable as the “e-cigarette” is not a tobacco product.  

However, employer may consider implementing adequate provision into workplace regulations an effective solution. Provision prohibiting usage of “e-cigarette” e.g. at the work post will be justified by the Article 100 of the Labour Code.  The employee according to the Article 100 of the Labour Code is obliged to take care of employer's best interests, including image.

Such prohibition does not exclude situations when employee can use the “e-cigarette” (e.g. during breaks he is entitled to according the LC), in places set for such purpose (e.g. break room). Of course using “e-cigarettes” do not justify taking additional breaks, by the employee. The prohibition should be limited to work post or particular situation (e.g. in presence of clients).

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