If an employee gets sick from secondhand vapor from an e-cigarette and the employer permits vaping in the workplace, could the sickened employee successfully sue or get workers' compensation for the illness?
Author: Stefan H. Black, FordHarrison LLP
Yes. However, the sickened employee must prove that the secondhand vapor caused the illness. An employer that allows tobacco smoking in the workplace is often liable for workers' compensation claims and other lawsuits brought by employees who suffer an illness or injury because of the secondhand smoke. An employer that allows vaping in the workplace should expect similar claims from employees who claim to be sickened by secondhand vapor. Whether such claims will be successful will depend on whether the employee proves that e-cigarette vapor caused him or her to get sick. While a few studies have found e-cigarette vapor to be harmful, there is no scientific consensus regarding the short-term or long-term effects of e-cigarette vapor.