We were shocked and dismayed last week to find out that one of customers had been fired for using an electronic cigarette.
Following instructions, bus driver Joanne was not using the electronic cigarette while driving but at a turnaround when, without warning, she was fired for gross misconduct.
Our managing directer wrote to her company, Country Liner (page since removed), explaining that the electronic cigarette was legal, and passing on the opinion of scientists that the device carried no risk of passive smoking, and asking them to reconsider their decision to fire Joanne. We received no reply. Joanne also tells us she has not received a reply to her appeal, the last three days of her salary or the travelling expenses she needed to go to her appeal.
After losing her job, Joanne is now on job seekers allowance, which is not enough to cover her bills – she has already received payment penalties for not meeting interest payments. She has warned us that she will soon have to cut off her internet and mobile phone. However, her main concern is not to get her job back but to clear her name – Joanne is concerned that with a black mark against her she will never get a job in a bus company again.
Joanne is worried this will happen to other vapers in other jobs. Legally, Joanne is in the right – there are no restrictions on the use of electronic cigarettes. Indeed, in one instance when a hospital called the police to stop one of our customers from smoking the police told the hospital that our customer was completely in his rights to smoke.
Based on what we know so far, this is not a just decision, and we hope you will join us in urging CountryLiner to reconsider. You can find their contact details here: http://www.countryliner-coaches.co.uk/contacts.asp .