can I be written up for spitting?

A reader writes:

I work in a small IMO insurance firm as a marketer and graphic designer. Today while outside smoking (I spit when I smoke), my boss came to me and told me that if he ever found me spitting on the walk way again he would write me up. We rent the building we are in and there is nothing in the lease (according to my office manager) about the condition the walk way is left if we should move to a new building. My question is: Can he really write me up for spitting out of habit?

I don’t see why not. That’s disgusting.

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    To the writer of this letter

    "…there is nothing in the lease (according to my office manager) about the condition the walk way is left if we should move to a new building."

    You really thought that was the point? Really? Spit would wash away from the pavement with the first rain. Decorum — that's the point.

  2. Anonymous*

    Exactly. If you have office guests or worse, customers, coming to the office and they see you smoking & spitting on the walk way, it will not be creating a very good impression.

  3. Evil HR Lady*

    You're so mean. As long as it's not in the lease! This is seriously an argument my six year old would make: "Mom, you never said I couldn't pour ketchup over the baby's head."

  4. Anonymous*

    If I were this individual's manager, my question would be "Can I fire him for spitting?"

    I don't care if it's in the building lease or not. That kind of personal conduct is disgusting. No one else wants to work around a spitter, and worse, that's one of the last things that will endear our customers to us when they see that.

    (Oh … just a reminder for the clueless … the key to continued business and, in turn, continued employment, are customers!)

  5. Evil HR Lady*

    I read this this morning, and then I left and I was sitting in my German class laughing about this. It's the funniest question and best answer ever.

  6. Anonymous*

    The manager should really have told him to take his smoking off company property.

    I'm sure his colleagues don't enjoy the increased lung cancer risk from breathing the fumes produced by his cancer sticks.

  7. Sally*

    I used to sit in a cubicle by the main walkway near the restrooms. Every day this guy would SNORK up a loogie as he entered the mens room. A male coworker friend confirmed that the guy was spitting in the sink. I asked my supervisor to ask the guy to wait until he's in the bathroom before SNORKING, but my supervisor (a male) never followed up. I finally caught the snorker on his way out of the mens room and asked that he please refrain from the snorking noise until he's securely in the bathroom, door closed. He never did it again.

  8. Lise*

    Ugh, good to see that people are disgusted by spitting as I am.

    I don't know why, but when I lived in France, there was A LOT of spitting (maybe it's because smoking is still more common in Europe). I totally lost it one time when I returned from a walk to find out someone had accidentally (I hope) spit on my coat.

    Of course, I could just be unusually squicked out by saliva. I remember having to do some test in Biology class that involved spitting in a tube to collect DNA for electrophoresis. I could NOT make myself do this and ended up filling up the tube with tap water.

  9. Graham*

    I disagree with many of the comments on hereperhaps. Let me explain: I'm talking about circumstances. Was there anyone else around? Is this walk-way in the front of the building? Is there a policy (I'm assuming not)? A good fix for problems like this would be to adopt and communicate a policy either about codes of personal conduct or maybe even a no smoking on company property policy. This way, any instances of "disgusting" behavior could be dealt with quickly and easily. I find much of the comments here and even your own response very judgemental and mostly just bashing behavior you don't approve of. I would never spit in or in front of my place of work, but where do you draw the line without a policy? Is nose-picking okay? Scratching your bum? Coughing or sneezing without covering it properly? I say have a policy about healthy conduct or smoking or whatever or at the very least ASK or TELL the employee not to do that in front of the office instead of writing him up.

  10. Julie O'Malley*

    "…Is nose-picking okay? Scratching your bum? Coughing or sneezing without covering it properly? "

    No, No, and No?

    And if we must spell it out, don't do any of these in view or hearing of your coworkers, either:
    -Clip your nails
    -Squeeze your zits
    -Scratch your naughty bits
    -Talk dirty to your SO on the phone
    -Break wind

    Frathouse rules don't apply at work.

  11. TheLabRat*

    I second that Vermillion. I'm an extremely heavy smoker but I don't spit & lugies nearly make me vomit every time. I also don't smoke around kids, I keep my distance when waiting for the bus, I carry my own ash tray (altoids tin) in case there isn't one available, and I bike 10 miles a day. SO admittedly, I'm kind of a weird smoker.

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