News: Woman Sent Home For E-Cig Use At Work

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article-2449591-1899E4BE00000578-709_634x420A woman in the United Kingdom is a little hot over being sent home from her job for using an electronic cigarette at work.  Although company representatives claim the incident is only being investigated, the woman claims she was fired for using an e-cig only once on the shop floor.

Michelle Capewell works (or worked depending on who you talk to) in a photo studio in a large baby products store called Mothercare.  After one use of her electronic cigarette on the store floor, a manager told her to get her stuff and leave.  According to Capewell, her transgression only happened once and had she been told not to anymore, she wouldn’t have.

But now, the story has blown up into a full on news story — seemingly pushed primarily by Capewell herself.  Maybe it’s a slow news week.

Capewell seems to be waging a media campaign against the company, hoping to ignite rage at the abuse of power or intolerance or whatever you want to call it.  Some electronic cigarette community members are in her corner but we are going to call shenanigans on this entire situation.  The entire story reeks of juvenile argument tactics.

Hopefully even the most stalwart defender of electronic cigarettes can see that employees on the clock look downright unprofessional toking an electronic cigarette.  This is particularly true in retail and service jobs where you are highly visible to customers.  Most likely, a customer saw her, and — most likely having small children or possibly being pregnant given the type of store Capewell worked in — voiced concern about the act.  Like any good manager, the best way to appease the enraged customer is to get the problem employee out of sight.

You can read the complete story here.

Maybe Capewell was fired or maybe she wasn’t.  Either way, the fact that this is news is rather flabbergasting.  And that Capewell seems to be the one that aired everyone’s dirty laundry may mean she isn’t welcome back with open arms.  There are managers all over that do the same thing to employees that pull out their cell phones on the job.  Should electronic cigarettes be any different?

Capewell is certainly trying to get people on her side.  Articles about the incident are quick to say that she’s a mother of 2 and she is already saying that she was fired — not just sent home.  She’s also telling the world that her electronic cigarette use helped her kick a 20-a-day smoking habit.  Capewell also claims that the store has no electronic cigarette policy in place and she didn’t know any better.

What do you think?  Did Capewell’s managers overreact?  Is the fact that the store didn’t have a clear policy on e-cigs a reasonable defense for Capewell’s actions?

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