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New job in VERY smoky office AAARRGGH

(43 Posts)
MABS Thu 06-Jan-05 19:04:03

Would really appreciate your help and advice here. As some of you may know, I started what I thought was my dream job on 1st Dec after redundancy from a fab job in September. Things have been horrible at home really since early December as my MIL was taken ill then and then died just before Xmas. This has meant that i have tried to ignore what is really a massive problem for me at my new office -THEY ALL CHAIN SMOKE!!

It is a small office (small co) based in a one roomed converted barn out in the country. It's a great setting , but the other 4 staff all smoke all day in the office. I can't say anything about it coz the owner and his wife ,aged mid 60s, are the main problem and I know they will never stop and don't want to-he is rather arrogant. It is starting to affect my eyes every day and i stink the whole time. It's really getting me down, and i seem to have a persistent cough now too! If I hand in my notice (1 month) I am really concerned they will just tell me to go immed and I won't get paid 4 the monthof Jan as I have been there such a short time. In honesty, it's not the dream job i thought it'd be, but i am quite enjoying it really. I just am at my wits end with everything really. Thanks for listening!

BeckiF Thu 06-Jan-05 19:30:55

I'm sure that you have strong rights here, but at least you could suggest an air purifier to start with. Your health should not be made to suffer because of their habits. Good luck.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Thu 06-Jan-05 20:25:31

Oh no! How awful MABS. I would hate it too and I used to smoke but gave up in Mar 03. I don't even like pubs or smoky places any more and really dislike even sitting in the smoking section in restaurants. I thought there was H&S legislation about this and I didn't think offices were allowed to subject non smokers to it but this is only my vague thought, I've no idea whether it's true. I don't know what to suggest other than look for a new job, it sounds unlikely they'll give up. Poor you.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Thu 06-Jan-05 20:28:13

Ah, no, it appears not from the ASH website it's suggested but not enforcable. Something to do with the BAT guy going to dinner at Chequers I wonder?

beansprout Thu 06-Jan-05 20:29:09

That's just horrible, poor you. Some (note, some) smokers can be very selfish - the dangers of passive smoking are well known, not to mention the yuckiness of stinking of their smoke.
If you have to leave, I hope you get something better very soon (I'm sure you will, it's just a pain in the butt in the mean time).

beansprout Thu 06-Jan-05 20:30:35

oooh, see what I did there? No pun intended

myermay Thu 06-Jan-05 20:41:34

Message withdrawn

MABS Thu 06-Jan-05 20:41:42

thanks for your support girls, anyone else any thoughts?

Marina Fri 07-Jan-05 08:42:53

Is it worth risking your long-term health for, MABS? Passive smoking does not just make your clothes and hair smell, it does damage your lungs and circulation system. Roy Castle died of lung cancer which his doctors and he were convinced was caused by years of performing in smoky clubs. He was a lifelong non-smoker. OK, he was extremely unlucky to develop cancer, but many, many more workers in smoky environments develop non-terminal but upsetting and even debilitating health problems.
I would contact ASH to find out what your situation is regarding constructive dismissal if your employers are unable or unwilling to provide you with acceptable air quality in the workplace. Seriously. I used to work for ASH many years ago and know from experience the real damage and nuisance passive smoking can cause. You already have a persistent cough which is very possibly caused or exacerbated by the air pollution.
I'm really sorry the job has not worked out, but they sound too inconsiderate to stick with. Good luck and commiserations.

oatcake Fri 07-Jan-05 09:04:28

didn't you know it was a smoking office before taking the job?

If you weren't told about it, then I'd press for the smoking to be done outside, or windows open, or air purifiers whatever.

It's just a pain that it's you love the job.

Carla Fri 07-Jan-05 09:12:18

Can you try CAB? I smoke, but would detest working in that environment. It's a bugger that the owner and his wife to, 'cos they may not be sympathetic. Sounds like a really tricky one. XXX

runtus Fri 07-Jan-05 10:36:24

Could you try and find an air purifier of your own to bring in - I know not the ideal situation and you shouldn't have to but might help you out (which is the imp thing I guess?)

nailpolish Fri 07-Jan-05 10:39:19


up here its slowly becoming law for all public places to be no smoking (very very soon in tayside). hopefully it will be national soon. im a smoker but i would hate to work in a place where you could smoke inside, or even at the door, which i think is mingin. groups of folk huddled together tabbing. yuck

moondog Fri 07-Jan-05 10:43:54

I'm amazed-thought all offices were 'no smoking' places now. Dh and I laugh at the thought that 15 years ago he shared an office with a smoker-seems so outlandish these days.
I worked for the NHS and none of us are even allowed to smoke in the grounds of our various buildings!
Best solution is a designated room for smokers-people are after all still entitled to do it if they want.
You should see what it's like here in Turkey-every meal out is ruined by something blowing smoke acroos the table. Plumbers and electricians even turn up at the flat fag in hand and saunter in!

secur Fri 07-Jan-05 10:51:10

Message withdrawn

MABS Fri 07-Jan-05 21:01:05

thanks for your input here everyone. I suppose it must have been smoky when i had the interview, but i truly didn't notice it - my fault though am sure. I am fairly damn certain that no-one was actually smoking whilst i was having intvw though. My contract says 1 month notice, but i don't think i can bear a whole month in there, nor can my poor eyes! If I only gave 1 wk notice, would they have to pay me for work done since my last paycheque (30 Dec)or could they withold it as I haven't given full notice? Any advice appreciated.

MABS Sat 08-Jan-05 13:55:45

any ideas? plleeees...

Whizzz Sat 08-Jan-05 14:03:09

Have a look here Last item is on Passive Smoking
Its a leaflet from the HSE

Have a look at page 8 - Legal Position

ScummyMummy Sat 08-Jan-05 14:08:07

Oh dear, MABS. I'm still smoking on and off as you know (off at the moment- could this be the off that turns me into a permanent non-smoker? Fingers crossed) but would really, really hate to work in a smokey office. Do you think you could summon up the courage to talk to your bosses about this? Perhaps letting them know that you are on the point of leaving would make them consider any alternatives as I'm sure they would not want to lose you. Do they have any other office space that could be designated as a non smoking area? Is there no possiblility of the smokers going outside or a smoking room being set up? good luck. Sorry the new job isn't turning out as you hoped- I know you were looking forward to it.

MABS Sat 08-Jan-05 14:20:24

Really wish there was aother office bit i could go to but no there isn't. I work in a converted barn based at the owner's farm - it's just one room. The main smoker is ther 72 yr old owner who has chain smoked since he was 14, he ain't gonna stop now!!

Whizzz Sat 08-Jan-05 14:27:33

MABS - all I could suggest was to try raising the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) regs. I can dig out some more relevent stuff to assist you if you like
(I am a qualified H&S person & can prove it by the way !)

ScummyMummy Sat 08-Jan-05 14:27:54

oh dear, MABS. Looks like frank discussion time then, to find out what their policies are around working out notice. Or perhaps they could buy you a garden shed office? Wouldn't mind one of these meself, actually. Very swish.

SenoraPostrophe Sat 08-Jan-05 14:34:48

A difficult one.

I think you should mention it, and suggest an air purefier or perhaps smoking outside. They may be more reasonable that you think. I am a smoker and we all smoke in our office, but if a non-smoker were to start work here I would get better ventilation or smoke outside (depending on how much they didn't like smoke). I don't imagine our office is as smoky as yours as none of us chain smoke, but even so.

Before you mention anything though you should make sure you look up your rights - if you did give a month's notice and they asked you to leaeave straight away I'm pretty sure they'd have to pay you for January anyway.

Cam Sun 09-Jan-05 11:41:37

Mabs, so sorry to hear about your MIL, commiserations to your dh as well. About the smoking office, I think your first step should be to speak to your boss as he probably doesn't realise how offensive you find it. They may not have had a non-smoker working there before? Plus, you can state the fact that you didn't realise that people were allowed to smoke in the office when you accepted the position. You never know, the boss may be willing to compromise. If not, you will have to reconsider your job for health reasons as whatever the law is or isn't about smoking, there must be laws about your health being damaged at work.

Whizzz Sun 09-Jan-05 11:50:25

There are laws to try & prevent your health being damged at work - see my previous posts !

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