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Skylark bans employees from smoking while on their way to work at head office

38 Comments

Starting from Dec 1, Skylark Group, which operates family restaurants, will prohibit employees from not only smoking at its head office, but also ban smoking while they commute to work from the headquarters’ nearest train and bus stations.

Skylark, which is Japan's largest restaurant chain operator with 3,079 establishments nationwide, has already removed all smoking spaces inside and in outdoor areas, such as the roof, at its Tokyo head office in Musashino City, Fuji TV reported.

Concerning the ban on employees smoking while on their way to work, while warnings will be issued to those who break the smoke-free policy (if they are found out), the company has stated it will not impose penalties as it would be an infringement of personal freedom and their private lives.

Upon hearing of the new initiative, one Skylark employee commented, “I will have to get used to the smoking ban when it comes into effect in December.” When asked whether he supported the ban, he said, “It can’t be helped.”

At Skylark’s restaurant chains Gusto and Jonathan’s, indoor smoking bans have already been implemented either fully or partially (i.e. separate eating areas for smokers).

The company said it announced the latest smoking ban in an effort to improve its employees' health and said it hopes employees will see the benefits of the policy. E-cigarettes are also included in the ban.

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38 Comments
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Probably help to stop them smelling like ashtrays when they are taking orders at tables.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Concerning the ban on employees smoking while on their way to work, while warnings will be issued to those who break the smoke-free policy (if they are found out), the company has stated it will not impose penalties as it would be an infringement of personal freedom and their private lives.

Imposing the ban itself is an infringement of their personal freedom and private lives. I don't normally come out in favour of smokers, and God knows how many times I've criticised smoking policy in Japan on this site, but what employees do outside of company property and time is entirely up to them.

When asked whether he supported the ban, he said, “It can’t be helped.”

What a feeble response!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Ok, this is bizarre. Yes, I'm a biased smoker. Where does it stop?

Urine tests to see if someone's been having a crafty one on the sly?

Sorry, you've already got your bans and restrictions in place - let's just leave it there, eh.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

I was pretty impressed when I first saw the enclosed smoking sections at my local Bamiyan, Saizeria, and Gusto restaurants. (All Skylark brands.) Big air exhaust/filtration systems in the ceilings, too.

Too bad the food at those chains isn't very good. But, not having some old guy puffing away in between bites at the next table is almost worth it.

As an ex-smoker, I can't understand how people smoke during meals. After the meal, of course. It's the best time for a cigarette, esspecially with an after-meal coffee. But, during the meal? It just mars the taste of the food.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"Concerning the ban on employees smoking while on their way to work, while warnings will be issued to those who break the smoke-free policy (if they are found out), the company has stated it will not impose penalties as it would be an infringement of personal freedom and their private lives."

I somehow just knew this was going to be near the opening of the story. More lip-service "laws". Why bother making this whole "banning" thing anyway since they cannot ban people from actually doing it?

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

But, during the meal? It just mars the taste of the food.

Agreed. I don't understand that bit, either. It's sacrilegious.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It's a bit drastic to ban them from vaping.

Given the large number of part time staff working at these restaurants, I hope some of them tell the company where to go. There are plenty of other places you can earn 1000 yen an hour without being told what to do outside work hours.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

ter the meal, of course. It's the best time for a cigarette, esspecially with an after-meal coffee. But, during the meal? It just mars the taste of the food.

well if you're eating at skylark or bamian, it might actually improve the taste of the food.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

And yet they require those same employees to breathe customer's second hand smoke in the smoking sections of their restaurants?

I'm always amazed at how the constraints placed on decision making lead to bizarre outcomes like this.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I'm all for reducing smoking but I believe in personal freedom's.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Not a smoker, but how is this even remotely constitutional?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Not a smoker, but how is this even remotely constitutional?

Constitutional guarantees protect you from government actions that violate them. This is a private employer, so the constitution does not apply.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thunderbird2Today  04:16 pm JST

“Probably help to stop them smelling like ashtrays when they are taking orders at tables.”

Employees working at the chain’s headquarters are unlikely to be waiting on tables.

kohakuebisuToday  04:33 pm JST

”Given the large number of part time staff working at these restaurants, I hope some of them tell the company where to go. There are plenty of other places you can earn 1000 yen an hour without being told what to do outside work hours.”

See above reply to Thunderbird.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sounds fair enough. I worked with a team of "teachers" that made the teachers office resemble a pachinko. Smoke before arriving to work (plus coffee). Smoke again after lunch, to come back into the office right after. The whole room literally smelled like a pachinko, EVEN when there was no-one inside.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Call me stupid but the article seems to about head office staff only not about their franchise outlets.

Carry on.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Another righteous step towards the healthy (society) working environment. If the human being itself is too weak to stop polluting itself, then it is up to the higher ups to give a choice - you stay healthy, or you get fired. Proper rights infringement. "Right Infringement" oh boy...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I am a smoker, and if my company came to me and told me this, I think I would be stuck between telling them to get stuffed, and thanking them for being concerned about my health, and their customers.

I would suggest a different approach than trying to use a sledge hammer to kill a fly, and to avoid and rights issues, approach your smokers and offer company sponsored tobacco cessation treatment, and off time to go to get it done!

Tobacco addiction is an illness much like alcoholism, and if they believe their employees are worth it, they will take the steps necessary to treat their addiction.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Whaaat on a number of points but

That's a bit misleading having the logos of the actual restaurants!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nasubi,

“That's a bit misleading having the logos of the actual restaurants!!”

Why? The headquarters is the headquarters of all those chains. And the headline and article clearly state “head office” and “headquarters”.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Really? They think they can dictate what people do on their way to work and not on the premises of the company. Since it is not going to be enforced, I'd tell them to go get stuffed. There is too much interference in people's private lives by companies here.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Tobacco addiction is an illness much like alcoholism

no its not, its a sign of lack of willpower. I quit after smoking 18 years anyone else can too if they want.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Their heart is in the right place but not their brain. You don’t mess with people’s private lives

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What people do on their way to work IS NOT the business of the company!

I would like to also not have anyone affected by secondhand smoke and hope the next generation smokes less, but restricting personal freedoms is NOT the way to go.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I hope the dumb little hr drone that came with this dumb idea will get sued proper

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not everyone has good breath but smokers’ breath reek of tobacco even when they’re not smoking. Smokers should wear masks even when they don’t have colds. In fact they should wear masks at all times not just when they are serving, making, or dealing with food. They should just all stay home and be imprisoned in their smoky abode until they quit. Going too far imo.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Dango Bong: "no its not, its a sign of lack of willpower."

I actually kind of agree with you on this one. I DO thing some people are more predisposed to alcoholism and addiction than others, but you can quit both it and/or smoking. The latter in particular is not a disease at all. I quit both, cold turkey and 100%, without ever looking back. Might take a while to kick the dependency, and cold turkey is not for all, but smoking is only a disease in the sense that it is a completely unnecessary vice and an awful thing at that.

"but restricting personal freedoms is NOT the way to go."

The company can require what they like of its staff while they are in the workplace, and what they do before and after, if it directly affects things in said workplace, should apply. Flight attendants who work for Japanese companies are not allowed to drink much if any alcohol or eat strong smelling foods the night before a flight because it might cause them to smell (breath, at least), which can affect service. They actually punish it, too. Flight attendants can choose to obey, and keep their jobs, or not and risk being punished. Smoking is MUCH worse, because your clothes reek of it, too. I stayed at a hostel on the weekend while backpacking and one guy in the room was a smoker (no smoking indoors) and even though he smoked outside the whole place INSIDE smelled like an ashtray when he walked in, not to mention he coughed and hacked all night long. Can't do much about that because he's a guest, but if staff they could.

Yubaru: "I would suggest a different approach than trying to use a sledge hammer to kill a fly"

This isn't a sledgehammer killing a fly, and even if it were, the fly still gets killed, which is the point. Sledgehammer in this case hurts no one besides, so why not?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Good on Skylark. Smoking is an absolutely disgusting habit in the best of times. Much worse when the disgusting stench is wafting off your waiter.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Clamenza,

“Much worse when the disgusting stench is wafting off your waiter.”

Agsin and again, this story has nothing to do with waiters.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

 I quit after smoking 18 years anyone else can too if they want.

Right, and then we end up posting on internet forums telling people what's good for them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Not a smoker, but how is this even remotely constitutional? im anti-smoking but I dont see how a company can tell a smoker what to do when theyre not on companies time and smoking outside. I understand many companies pay for employees travel expenses but I think most people arnt on the clock until they get to work!?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It stops them from showing up stinking. That seems perfectly reasonable.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Right, and then we end up posting on internet forums telling people what's good for them.

if you think smoking is good for you go at it I wont stop you

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you think a smoker should stay home or wear a mask or be given less in life because of his or her habit, I’d remind you that most humans have their vices.

You may not like smokers, but may be or have something else that someone finds repulsive. Isn’t the idea of being tolerant showing some normal tolerance?

First World Problems.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Can't tell people what to do on their way to work. That's it. Next

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You may not like smokers, but may be or have something else that someone finds repulsive. Isn’t the idea of being tolerant showing some normal tolerance?

That's how I look at it. I quit smoking years ago, and find it quite distasteful, but I'm tolerant of those who choose to smoke. People have their vices, and as humans, those vices keep us sane.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yep Strangerland. Pretty ridiculous these comments who want people to suffer because they don’t like the smell of someone’s breath. In that case, their appearance (should it displease me) is good reason (according to them) to meet out some kind of punishment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Smokers stink- pure and simple. The less there are the better.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While I dispise smoking, intruding on peoples private lives is harrassement pure and simple.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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