I working at a company with 50-60 employees, none of whom smoke apart from myself. I understand going out to smoke is a privilege, not a right, and the company is under no obligation to support my terrible habit.
The office is situated in the middle of a small town, there is a small park that's roughly a 5-minute walk away. HR have asked me to stop smoking in the work's car park (which is fair enough) and have requested that I walk the 10-minute round trip to the park to smoke.
The company's car park is attached to a road which the company does not own or have any control over. Would it be unreasonable to smoke whilst standing on this road or near it, as walking the 10 minutes to the park seems counter productive for both myself and the company, as I would be wasting 20-30 minutes per day walking.
Can an employer have any control over where I can smoke (in public) when I'm technically doing it on "their time", as it were?
I'm based in the UK, if that makes a difference.
( 6 months ago )
As you already stated, it is ok for the company to control its premises eg. car-park, and whether they allow you "paid breaks". What you do in your break and outside of their premises should be of no concern to them, as long as it does not harm their reputation or your ability to continue working as soon as break is over.
One could discuss if smoking people on a public sidewalk in front of a particular company will promote a bad reputation, but if you a are the only one I think that point is moot.
On the other hand, don´t bite the hand that feeds you. If they are willing to support your bad habits on their terms, maybe it is best to comply or you might find yourself stripped of those cigarette-break privileges altogether?