Getting fired from a job can be stressful and challenging. For people who vape, an additional concern may be whether their vaping habits could contribute to getting terminated. While vaping is legal, there are some circumstances where vaping at work could potentially lead to dismissal. However, there are also laws in place to protect employees from discrimination. Understanding the risks, your workplace policies, and your rights can help ensure your vaping doesn’t cost you your job.
Could vaping get you fired?
The short answer is yes, vaping could potentially get you fired in certain situations. Here are some of the main ways vaping could contribute to termination of employment:
Violating company policy
Many workplaces have policies that prohibit vaping on company property or during work hours. If your employee handbook or company guidelines ban vaping at work and you violate this policy, it could be grounds for termination. Make sure you know and follow your workplace rules regarding vaping.
Frequent vaping during work hours could lead to problems with productivity, focus and attendance. Taking too many vaping breaks or letting the habit interfere with your job duties could result in firing for performance issues.
Vaping around flammable materials or in restricted areas may violate safety protocols and endanger yourself and others. Failure to follow safety rules could potentially result in immediate termination.
For customer-facing jobs, complaints about vaping from clients or customers may also spur disciplinary action or termination. Even if you follow a workplace vaping ban, offsite vaping could still jeopardize your job if customers complain.
Violating local laws
Make sure you comply with all state and local regulations regarding vaping and smoking. Vaping where prohibited by law or underage vaping could also contribute to firing if discovered by your employer.
Are there legal protections?
While the above behaviors could warrant termination in many cases, employees do have some protections under the law:
Employers cannot legally fire someone solely because they vape if vaping is lawful and occurs during non-work hours offsite. Discrimination laws protect employees’ rights to engage in legal activities off-duty. However, onsite vaping violations can still result in termination if against policy.
Medical marijuana laws
In states where medical marijuana is legal, employees may have protection for medical vaping with a valid prescription. Recreational marijuana may not be protected. Employers may still prohibit onsite vaping for safety reasons.
Vaping that relates to an addiction or disability may require reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Protections would apply to vaping cessation treatment or prescribed vaping for medical conditions.
Union contracts, collective bargaining agreements or labor laws may protect certain grounds for termination. Illegal reasons include discrimination, retaliation or whistleblowing. Procedural requirements for disciplinary notices and appeals may also apply.
Wrongful termination suits
If an employee believes they were fired illegally or unfairly due to vaping, they may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. This involves demonstrating the firing was improper or against public policy.
|Grounds for Firing Related to Vaping
|Violating company vaping ban
|Discrimination laws (off-duty legal activity)
|Performance issues from vaping on the job
|Disability laws (vaping addiction as disability)
|Violating safety rules due to vaping
|Medical marijuana laws (prescribed vaping)
|Customer complaints about vaping
|Labor laws (contracts, bargaining rights)
|Breaking local vaping or smoking laws
|Wrongful termination lawsuits
Tips to avoid firing related to vaping
If you want to avoid getting fired for vaping-related reasons, here are some tips:
Know your workplace vaping policy
Carefully review any company guidelines about smoking and vaping. Follow all rules prohibiting vaping at work, in company vehicles, etc. Ask your manager if unsure.
Vape only during designated breaks
Plan your vaping for regular breaks and lunch periods. Never let vaping interfere with your job responsibilities and attendance. Set alarms reminding you to get back to work.
Avoid customer interactions when vaping
As a customer-facing employee, try to vape discreetly away from customers. Avoid complaints by being sensitive about when and where you vape.
Consider vaping alternatives or cutting back
To minimize risks, examine ways to use alternatives like nicotine gum or reduce your vaping where possible. This could help avoid performance issues.
Don’t vape in prohibited spaces
Never vape in smoking-restricted spaces, gas stations, hospitals and other dangerous environments. Follow all public vaping laws.
Disclose medical vaping if applicable
If you vape for a medical reason, inform your employer and request accommodation under disability laws where appropriate.
Address addiction concerns
If your vaping is frequent enough to indicate addiction, consider seeking professional help. Getting addiction issues under control can help minimize workplace risks.
|Strategies to Avoid Firing
|Breaking company vaping ban
|Know and follow all workplace policies
|Excessive vaping on the job
|Vape only on designated breaks
|Customer complaints about vaping
|Vape discreetly away from customers
|Performance issues due to vaping
|Consider vaping alternatives or cutting back
|Safety violations from vaping in prohibited areas
|Avoid vaping in restricted spaces
|Vaping addiction problems
|Seek help to get addiction under control
What to do if you’re fired for vaping
If you lose your job and believe vaping was a contributing factor, here are some steps to take:
Review the termination reason
Look at the explanation provided by your employer. Were you fired for cause due to policy violations or performance issues? Or do you believe the termination reason is untrue or exaggerated? Understanding the exact grounds given is important.
Consult your employee handbook
Check what your employee manual says about discipline protocols. Were proper procedures followed? Does the handbook forbid vaping outright or protect off-duty legal activity? Review all policies.
File for unemployment benefits
After losing your job, apply for unemployment payments through your state workforce agency. You may have to explain if vaping contributed to your firing during the application process.
Consider disputing the termination
If you think you were fired improperly because of lawful off-duty vaping, file a formal dispute with your company HR department. Explain why the firing was unjustified based on the circumstances.
Talk to a labor attorney
For professional advice, meet with an employment lawyer. They can assess any discrimination, wrongful firing or other claims related to your termination. They’ll advise your rights.
File an EEOC complaint
If you believe your firing constituted disability or other discrimination, submit a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for investigation.
Negotiate a severance package
You may be able to negotiate things like pay continuation, neutral job reference or health insurance support in exchange for signing a severance agreement waiving claims against your employer.
|If Fired for Vaping
|Steps to Take
|Review exact termination reason
|Check if proper discipline process was followed
|Determine if reason cited is accurate
|File for unemployment benefits
|Consider disputing firing if grounds seem unjustified
|Talk to an employment attorney
|Assess if discrimination laws apply
|File EEOC complaint if applicable
|Determine wrongful termination claims
|Negotiate severance agreement if desired
In summary, vaping could potentially lead to termination of employment in certain circumstances, such as violating company policies or performance problems. Employees have some protections under discrimination, disability, labor and wrongful termination laws. Avoiding vaping infractions, discretely vaping as permitted, and addressing any addiction issues can help minimize risks. If fired, carefully review the reasons given and consult professional advice about next steps. With prudence and knowledge of your rights, an employee can enjoy vaping off-duty while maintaining job security.